Questions and Answers: Cranfield leasehold conveyancing
I have just appointed agents to market my garden apartment in Cranfield.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a half-yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Cranfield where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Cranfield conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate 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 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 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 sale.
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 buyer.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Cranfield conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Cranfield conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Cranfield conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Cranfield from the point of view of expediting the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cranfield can be avoided if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers representatives.
- The majority freeholders or managing agents in Cranfield levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cranfield.
When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Cranfield what are the most common lease problems?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Cranfield. All leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are not included. 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
- A duty to insure the building
- 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 may have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, Coventry Building Society, and Clydesdale all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Cranfield - Examples of Questions you should ask before buying
Does the lease have in excess of 82 years remaining?
Please note that where the lease has fewer than eighty years it will affect the marketability of the flat. It is worth checking with your mortgage company that they are happy with remaining years on the lease. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will probably need a lease extension sooner rather than later and it is worth discovering how much this will be. For most Cranfieldlease extensions you will be be obliged to have been the owner of the residence for a couple of years before you are entitled to extend the lease.
How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their service charge payments?