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Questions and Answers: Crosby leasehold conveyancing

Jane (my partner) and I may need to rent out our Crosby ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Crosby conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Crosby do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

There are only Sixty One years left on my flat in Crosby. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you qualify, 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 enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to locate the landlord. In some cases a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be used as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Crosby.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have since found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Crosby. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Crosby are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Crosby in which case you should be shopping around for a Crosby conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Crosby. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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).

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Crosby from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Crosby can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers representatives.
  • A minority of Crosby leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Crosby home move. If a duplicate share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I own a 1 bedroom flat in Crosby, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Corresponding flats in Crosby with over 90 years remaining are worth £182,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 invoiced every year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2094

    With only 70 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £8,600 and £9,800 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" 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 a more accurate figure without more comprehensive investigations. Do not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Crosby