Questions and Answers: Darwen leasehold conveyancing
There are only 72 years remaining on my flat in Darwen. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the lessor. In some cases a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Darwen.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed flat in Darwen.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
It best that you pay 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
Back In 2008, I bought a leasehold flat in Darwen. Conveyancing and Leeds 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 demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Darwen who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a Darwen conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Darwen which have about forty five years left on the lease term. should I be concerned?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Darwen is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. For most purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. 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 property 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 Darwen 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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 employed by a busy estate agency in Darwen where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Darwen conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the owner 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 kick-start 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 to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
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.
Darwen Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing
It would be wise to enquire if the the lease includes any adverse restrictions in the lease. For example some leases prohibit pets being allowed in certain buildings in Darwen. If you love the flatin Darwen however your cat can’t move with you then you will be presented with a hard compromise.
What prohibitions exist in the Darwen Lease?
How much is the ground rent and service charge?