Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Eastbourne:

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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.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Organising a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Eastbourne home move. Where a reissued share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • 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
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Eastbourne leasehold premises is £350. For Eastbourne conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to supply answers.

    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.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Eastbourne