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Recently asked questions relating to Halstead leasehold conveyancing

There are only Seventy years left on my lease in Halstead. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?

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 lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the freeholder. In some cases a specialist would be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Halstead.

I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Halstead.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is clear 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 management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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 Halstead. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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 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).

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Halstead where we have experienced 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 Halstead conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that 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 can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.

All being well we will complete our sale of a £150000 maisonette in Halstead next week. The management company has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Halstead?

Halstead conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes ordinarily necessitates fees being raised by landlords agents :

  • Completing pre-contract questions
  • Where consent is required before sale in Halstead
  • Supplying insurance information
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Halstead leasehold premises is £350. For Halstead conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide the information.

Halstead Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Queries before buying

    Who are the managing agents? The answer will be useful as a) areas could cause problems for the block as the common areas may start to deteriorate where repairs are not paid for b) if the tenants have a dispute with the running of the building you will want to know about it Its a good idea to discover as much as possible regarding the managing agents as they will impact your use and enjoyment of the property. As the owner of a leasehold property you will be in the clutches of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to every day issues such as the tidiness of the communal areas. Ask other tenants if they are happy with them. Finally, be sure you understand the dates that the service charges are due to the managing agents and precisely what you get for your money.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Halstead