Common questions relating to Fleet leasehold conveyancing
I own a leasehold flat in Fleet. Conveyancing and Alliance & Leicester mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing practitioner in Fleet who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a Fleet conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Fleet. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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 a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Fleet where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Fleet conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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 buyer.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Fleet conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Fleet conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Fleet conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:
- What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Fleet in the last year?
What makes a Fleet lease unmortgageable?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Fleet. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections 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 elements of the property
- A duty to insure the building
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You could 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. Nationwide Building Society, The Mortgage Works, 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 provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Fleet - Examples of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing
This information is useful as a) areas can cause problems for the block as the common areas may begin to deteriorate if repairs remain unpaid b) if the leasehold owners have a dispute with the managing agents you will wish to have complete disclosure
Be sure to discover if there are any onerous prohibitions in the lease. For example plenty of leases prohibit pets being permitted in certain buildings in Fleet. If you love the flatin Fleet but your dog can’t move with you then you will be faced difficult decision.
Is the freehold owned jointly by the tenants?