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Frequently asked questions relating to Chester leasehold conveyancing

I only have 72 years unexpired on my lease in Chester. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent may be useful to try and locate and to produce a report to be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Chester.

Expecting to exchange soon on a garden flat in Chester. Conveyancing solicitors assured me that they report fully tomorrow. What should I be looking out for?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Chester should include some of the following:

  • You should receive a copy of the lease
  • The unexpired lease term You should be advised as what happens when the lease ends, and aware of the importance of the 80 year mark
  • You should be told what counts as a Nuisance in the lease
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a sinking fund?
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Chester please enquire of your conveyancer in advance of your conveyancing in Chester

  • I’m about to sell my 2 bed flat in Chester.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

    Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

    Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Chester. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

    In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

    If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

    Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Chester from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Chester can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • Some Chester leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy process and frustrates many a Chester home move. Where a reissued share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is under 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Chester Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Queries before Purchasing

      How much is the maintenance charge and ground rent on the flat? Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge liability? It would be wise to enquire if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For instance some leases prohibit pets being allowed in certain buildings in Chester. If you like the apartmentin Chester however your dog is not allowed to move with you then you will be faced difficult compromise.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chester