Common questions relating to Cotham leasehold conveyancing
I have recently realised that I have 68 years unexpired on my lease in Cotham. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?
On the basis that 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 for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to track down the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Cotham.
I've found a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have just found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Cotham. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Cotham ?
The majority of houses in Cotham are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Cotham so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Cotham conveyancing solicitor and be sure 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 tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.
I am attracted to a two flats in Cotham which have approximately forty five years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Cotham is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. For most buyers and banks, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive 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 Cotham 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 flat in Cotham. Do I have any liability for 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. 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).
I work for a reputable estate agency in Cotham where we see a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Cotham conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can instigate 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 sit tight for 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 inherited a split level flat in Cotham, conveyancing was carried out in 2001. How much will my lease extension cost? Corresponding properties in Cotham with a long lease are worth £182,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 charged once a year. The lease expires on 21st October 2072
With 52 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £30,400 and £35,200 plus professional fees.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive investigations. You should 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 should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.