Questions and Answers: Halifax leasehold conveyancing
My wife and I may need to sub-let our Halifax basement flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Halifax conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
Even though your previous Halifax conveyancing solicitor is not available you can review your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the property. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you must obtain permission via your landlord or some other party prior to subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet in the absence of prior permission. Such consent should not be unreasonably turned down. If your lease prohibits you from letting out the property you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
I have recently realised that I have Seventy years left on my lease in Halifax. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?
If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent should be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report to be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Halifax.
I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Halifax. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in Halifax are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Halifax so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Halifax conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Halifax. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before 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 ensure 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 choosing a Halifax conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (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 work. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Halifax conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Halifax - Sample of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing
What is the service charge and ground rent on the property?
You should be aware that where the lease has less than eighty years it will impact the marketability of the flat. It is worth checking with your bank that they are happy with the length of the lease. Leases with fewer than 80 years remaining means that you will probably require a lease extension sooner rather than later and it is worth discovering how much this will be. For most Halifaxlease extensions you will need to own the residence for a couple of years in order to be eligible to carry out a lease extension.
Is anyone aware of any major works anticipated that could add a premium to the maintenance costs?