Questions and Answers: Halifax leasehold conveyancing
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years left on my lease in Halifax. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. 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 mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the landlord. On the whole a specialist would be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Halifax.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Halifax. Conveyancing and Skipton Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Halifax who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?
First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Halifax conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Halifax. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
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. It is an essential part 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).
Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Halifax conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Halifax conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Halifax conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Completion in due on the sale of our £250000 apartment in Halifax next week. The freeholder has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Halifax?
For most leasehold sales in Halifax conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :
- Completing pre-contract questions
- Where consent is required before sale in Halifax
- Supplying insurance information
- Deeds of covenant upon sale
- Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Halifax Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Queries before Purchasing
Who is in charge of the block?
Most Halifax leasehold apartments will incur a service charge for maintenance of the block invoiced by the management company. If you buy the property you will have to meet this amount, usually periodically during the year. This may vary from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large common areas. In all probability there will be a rentcharge to be met annual, this is usually not a significant amount, say about £50-£100 but you need to check it because on occasion it can be many hundreds of pounds.
It is important to be aware whether a new roof is being installed or some other major work is due shortly that will be shared between the tenants and will dramatically impact the level of the service fees or necessitate a one off payment.