Frequently asked questions relating to Durham leasehold conveyancing
My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Durham. Conveyancing and Nationwide Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Durham who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Durham conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, 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 flats in Durham which have about forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are plenty of short leases in Durham. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the value of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Durham. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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).
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Durham with the intention of expediting the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Durham can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
- Many landlords or managing agents in Durham levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Durham.
What makes a Durham lease unacceptable for security purposes?
Leasehold conveyancing in Durham is not unique. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, Barnsley Building Society, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Durham - A selection of Questions you should ask before buying
The best form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this scenario the lessees benefit from control and notwithstanding that a managing agent is often retained if it is larger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants.
Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge payments?
How much is the yearly service fee and ground rent?