Top Five Questions relating to Dartmouth leasehold conveyancing
I am intending to sublet my leasehold flat in Dartmouth. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?
A small minority of properties in Dartmouth do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates 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.
I’m about to sell my 2 bed flat in Dartmouth.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
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 unless 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 2007, I bought a leasehold flat in Dartmouth. Conveyancing and Virgin Money mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in Dartmouth who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Dartmouth conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I am looking at a couple of apartments in Dartmouth which have about 50 years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Dartmouth is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the value of the premises. For most purchasers and banks, leases with under eighty 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 premises 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 Dartmouth 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 any new 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 a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Dartmouth where we have experienced a few flat sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Dartmouth conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed 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 buyer.
Dartmouth Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Queries before Purchasing
Who are the managing agents?
The prefered form of lease arrangement is where the freehold reversion is in the ownership of the leaseholders. In this arrangement the tenants enjoy being in charge if their destiny and although a managing agent is frequently employed if the building is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants.
Is there a share of the freehold?