Cottenham leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Cottenham.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
The sensible thing to do is discharge 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 managing agents 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Cottenham. 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. A critical element 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 long established estate agent office in Cottenham where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Cottenham conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that 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 need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. 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 sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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.
What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Cottenham conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Cottenham conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Cottenham conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Cottenham what are the most frequent lease defects?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Cottenham. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You will encounter 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. Birmingham Midshires, Coventry Building Society, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.
I purchased a studio flat in Cottenham, conveyancing having been completed 2001. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Comparable properties in Cottenham with over 90 years remaining are worth £179,000. The ground rent is £50 invoiced every year. The lease terminates on 21st October 2097
With just 76 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £12,400 and £14,200 as well as professional fees.
The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of comprehensive investigations. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward placing reliance on this information without first getting professional advice.