Questions and Answers: Exeter leasehold conveyancing
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Exeter. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the unexpired term of the lease.
If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Exeter - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I only have Sixty One years left on my flat in Exeter. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Exeter.
I work for a reputable estate agency in Exeter where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Exeter conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 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 disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 purchaser.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Exeter conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Exeter conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Exeter conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
What are the common problems that you come across in leases for Exeter properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Exeter is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain clauses are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
- A duty to insure the building
- 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
You will encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, Skipton Building Society, and Britannia all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.
Exeter Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Questions you should consider before buying
How much is the service charge and ground rent on the property?
If a Exeter lease has less than eighty years it will have adverse implications on the value of the property. It is worth checking with your mortgage company that they are willing to lend given the lease term. A short lease means that you will probably require a lease extension at some point and you need to have some idea of how much this would cost. For most Exeterlease extensions you will need to own the residence for a couple of years in order to be eligible to exercise a lease extension.
Who takes charge for maintaining and repairing the building?