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Danbury leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I have just appointed agents to market my garden apartment in Danbury.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a quarterly service charge invoice – what should I do?

It best that you clear 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 management companies 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.

Back In 2008, I bought a leasehold flat in Danbury. Conveyancing and Nottingham Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Danbury who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a Danbury conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am looking at a two flats in Danbury which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. should I be concerned?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a period of time. As a lease shortens the value of the lease reduces and results in it becoming more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Danbury. Do I have any liability for 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. However, 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 am employed by a long established estate agent office in Danbury where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Danbury conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.

Danbury Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Queries Prior to buying

    Be sure to enquire if there are any onerous restrictions in the lease. For example it is fairly common in Danbury leases that pets are not allowed in in a block in Danbury. If you love the propertyin Danbury yet your dog is not allowed to move with you then you have a very difficult choice. It would be sensible to discover as much as you can regarding the managing agents as they will either make your living at the property much easier or problematic. As the owner of a leasehold property you will be in the clutches of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to every day matters such as the upkeep of the communal areas. Don't be afraid to ask other people what they think of their service. On a final note, find out the dates that you are obliged pay the maintenance charge to the managing agents and specifically what you get for your money. The prefered form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this scenario the leaseholders benefit from control and even though a managing agent is frequently retained if the building is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent retained by the leaseholders.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Danbury