Top Five Questions relating to Dolwyddelan leasehold conveyancing
I have just started marketing my 2 bed apartment in Dolwyddelan.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a quarterly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Dolwyddelan. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Dolwyddelan are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Dolwyddelan so you should seriously consider looking for a Dolwyddelan conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should advise you fully on all the issues.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Dolwyddelan which have approximately forty five years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Dolwyddelan is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the value of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat 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 Dolwyddelan 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Dolwyddelan. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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 work for a busy estate agency in Dolwyddelan where we see a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Dolwyddelan conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
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.
Dolwyddelan Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Queries Prior to buying
The majority of Dolwyddelan leasehold flats will be liable to pay a service charge for the upkeep of the building set by the freeholder. Where you purchase the apartment you will have to meet this amount, normally in instalments during the year. This can be anything from two or three hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for large purpose-built buildings. There will also be a ground rent to be met annual, normally this is not a large amount, say approximately £25-£75 but you need to enquire it because on occasion it can be many hundreds of pounds.
Does the lease have more than 90 years unexpired?
Does the lease include onerous restrictions?