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Earley leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor apartment in Earley.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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 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.

Back In 2005, I bought a leasehold flat in Earley. Conveyancing and Chelsea Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing practitioner in Earley who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Earley conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Earley both have approximately 50 years unexpired on the lease term. should I be concerned?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the marketability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is generally wise to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Earley. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part 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).

Completion in due on the disposal of our £300000 apartment in Earley next week. The landlords agents has quoted £384 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Earley?

Earley conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually requires the purchaser’s solicitor sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions the majority will be content to assist. They are at liberty charge a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it exceeds £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have little option but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to sell the property.

I bought a 2 bed flat in Earley, conveyancing having been completed in 1995. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Similar properties in Earley with an extended lease are worth £246,000. The ground rent is £45 levied per year. The lease expires on 21st October 2090

With 68 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to range between £9,500 and £11,000 as well as legals.

The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure without more comprehensive investigations. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other issues that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action based on this information before getting professional advice.

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Lease Extensions in Earley