Questions and Answers: Ferndown leasehold conveyancing
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Ferndown. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.
Assuming the lease is registered - and almost all are in Ferndown - 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 am intending to sublet my leasehold apartment in Ferndown. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?
The lease governs relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Ferndown do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.
I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Ferndown.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
The sensible thing to do is discharge the service charge 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Ferndown. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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 long established estate agency in Ferndown where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Ferndown conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.
Ferndown Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Questions you should ask Prior to buying
How is the lease structured?
Plenty Ferndown leasehold properties will incur a service bill for the upkeep of the block set on behalf of the management company. If you purchase the apartment you will have to meet this liability, normally in instalments throughout the year. This may differ from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for large purpose-built blocks. In all likelihood there will be a ground rent to be met annual, ordinarily this is not a exorbitant amount, say around £25-£75 but you need to check as sometimes it could be many hundreds of pounds.
What is the service charge and ground rent on the property?