Questions and Answers: Clifton leasehold conveyancing
Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Clifton. Before diving in I require certainty as to the number of years remaining on the lease.
If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Clifton - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Clifton. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
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).
I work for a long established estate agent office in Clifton where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Clifton conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has been the owner 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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Clifton conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Clifton conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Clifton conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:
- How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Clifton from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Clifton can be avoided where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Clifton leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Where you dont have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Clifton - A selection of Questions you should ask Prior to buying
Does this lease have in excess of 85 years remaining?
Does the lease include onerous restrictions?
How much is the maintenance charge and ground rent on the apartment?