Recently asked questions relating to City Of London leasehold conveyancing
I have just appointed agents to market my basement apartment in City Of London.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?
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 management companies will not acknowledge the buyer until 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I today plan to offer on a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in City Of London. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in City Of London ?
Most houses in City Of London are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in City Of London in which case you should be looking for a City Of London conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will advise you fully on all the issues.
I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in City Of London both have about forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in City Of London is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with City Of London conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in City Of London. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part 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).
What are the frequently found defects that you witness in leases for City Of London properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in City Of London is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, Coventry Building Society, and Aldermore all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.
Leasehold Conveyancing in City Of London - Sample of Queries Prior to Purchasing
How many years remain on the lease?
Does the lease contain onerous restrictions?
How much is the ground rent and service charge?