Questions and Answers: Eastbourne leasehold conveyancing
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Eastbourne. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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. 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 busy estate agency in Eastbourne where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Eastbourne conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as 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.
Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Eastbourne from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Eastbourne can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Eastbourne leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. If you fail to have the consents in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the disposal of our £500000 apartment in Eastbourne next Tuesday . The freeholder has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Eastbourne?
Eastbourne conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes ordinarily involves administration charges levied by management companies :
- Addressing pre-contract enquiries
- Where consent is required before sale in Eastbourne
- Supplying insurance information
- Deeds of covenant upon sale
- Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Eastbourne what are the most common lease problems?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Eastbourne. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses 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 parts of the building
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
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. Accord Mortgages Ltd, The Mortgage Works, and Clydesdale all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.
Eastbourne Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Questions you should consider before Purchasing
Who takes responsibility for maintaining and repairing the block?
Plenty Eastbourne leasehold flats will be liable to pay a service bill for the upkeep of the block levied on behalf of the management company. Where you acquire the apartment you will have to meet this contribution, usually quarterly accross the year. This may differ from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large common grounds. In all probability there will be a ground rent to be met annual, this is usually not a large figure, say about £50-£100 but you need to enquire as occasionally it can be many hundreds of pounds.
In the main the cost for major works tend not to be incorporated into the maintenance charges, although some managing agents in Eastbourne require leasehold owners to pay into a sinking fund created for the specific purpose of establishing a fund for major works.