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Common questions relating to Cotswolds leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Cotswolds. Before diving in I would like to find out the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Cotswolds - 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.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years left on my lease in Cotswolds. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder 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 an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent should be useful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Cotswolds.

I own a leasehold house in Cotswolds. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Cotswolds who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Cotswolds conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am looking at a two flats in Cotswolds both have approximately fifty years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Cotswolds is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. 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 premises 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 Cotswolds conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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.

I am employed by a reputable estate agent office in Cotswolds where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Cotswolds conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

Cotswolds Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Questions you should consider before Purchasing

    Can you tell me if there are any major works in the planning that will likely increase the maintenance costs? Who takes responsibility for maintaining and repairing the building? How much is the yearly service fee and ground rent?

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Lease Extensions in Cotswolds