Questions and Answers: Cockermouth leasehold conveyancing
I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Cockermouth. Before I get started I want to be sure as to the unexpired term of the lease.
Assuming the lease is registered - and almost all are in Cockermouth - 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.
Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold house in Cockermouth. Conveyancing and Britannia mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in Cockermouth who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Cockermouth conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I am looking at a two flats in Cockermouth which have approximately forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
A lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As a lease shortens the saleability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is generally wise to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you get professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Cockermouth. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
In a situation 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. It is an essential part 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 am employed by a long established estate agency in Cockermouth where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Cockermouth conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, 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.
Cockermouth Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Queries before Purchasing
Who takes responsibility for maintaining and repairing the block?
Is anyone aware of any major works in the planning that will increase the maintenance charges?
Please note if it is fewer than 80 years it will impact the salability of the apartment. Check with your mortgage company that they are willing to lend given the lease term. Leases with fewer than 80 years remaining means that you will probably require a lease extension sooner rather than later and you need to have some idea of what this will be. Remember, in most cases you would be required to have owned the property for a couple of years in order to be legally able to carry out a lease extension.