Questions and Answers: Downend leasehold conveyancing
My husband and I may need to let out our Downend basement flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Downend conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Some leases for properties in Downend do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold 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 have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed flat in Downend.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a quarterly service charge invoice – what should I do?
It best that you 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 managing agents 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.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Downend. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Downend ?
The majority of houses in Downend are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth 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 Downend so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Downend conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor will advise you fully on all the issues.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Downend. Do I have any liability for 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 am employed by a long established estate agent office in Downend where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Downend conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 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 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.
I purchased a 2 bed flat in Downend, conveyancing formalities finalised in 1998. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Equivalent properties in Downend with a long lease are worth £260,000. The ground rent is £55 invoiced every year. The lease ends on 21st October 2071
With just 50 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to be between £38,000 and £44,000 as well as professional fees.
The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed due diligence. Do not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other concerns that need to be considered and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.