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Questions and Answers: Grappenhall leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to let out our Grappenhall 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Grappenhall conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will say if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Grappenhall do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.

There are only Sixty One years unexpired on my flat in Grappenhall. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

If 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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Grappenhall.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Grappenhall. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Grappenhall are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Grappenhall in which case you should be looking for a Grappenhall conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will appraise you on the various issues.

I am looking at a couple of apartments in Grappenhall which have about fifty years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Grappenhall is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the property. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Grappenhall conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Grappenhall. Do I have any liability for 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 lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, 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).

Leasehold Conveyancing in Grappenhall - A selection of Questions you should consider before buying

    This information is helpful as a) areas may result in problems in the building as the common areas may start to deteriorate if maintenance remain unpaid b) if the leasehold owners have an issue with the managing agents you will wish to know about it How long is the Lease? Best to be warned whether fixing the lift or some other significant cost is pending to be shared between the leaseholders and will dramatically increase the the service charges or result in a specific invoice.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Grappenhall