Questions and Answers: Chester leasehold conveyancing
Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Chester. Before I get started I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.
If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Chester - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I only have 72 years left on my flat in Chester. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the freeholder. On the whole a specialist would be useful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering 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 half-yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Chester. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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 be sure 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).
I work for a busy estate agent office in Chester where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Chester conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the buyer.
I am the registered owner of a studio flat in Chester, conveyancing having been completed in 2007. Can you please calculate a probable premium for a statutory lease extension? Similar flats in Chester with a long lease are worth £166,000. The ground rent is £60 charged once a year. The lease ends on 21st October 2093
With only 72 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £9,500 and £11,000 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.
The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to provide a more accurate figure without more detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other issues that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action based on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.