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Common questions relating to Harwich leasehold conveyancing

I am hoping to sign contracts shortly on a basement flat in Harwich. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they are sending me a report tomorrow. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Harwich should include some of the following:

  • The length of the lease term You should be advised as what happens when the lease expires, and informed of the importance of the 80 year mark
  • The physical extent of the property. This will be the property itself but could also include a roof space or basement if applicable.
  • Setting out your legal entitlements in respect of common areas in the building.For example, does the lease include a right of way over an accessway or staircase?
  • Are you allowed to have a pet in the flat?
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this is subject to change
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide. For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Harwich please enquire of your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Harwich

  • I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Harwich which have about fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

    There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Harwich is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the premises. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty 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 premises 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 Harwich 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.

    I've recently bought a leasehold house in Harwich. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    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. 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).

    I am employed by a long established estate agency in Harwich where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Harwich conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

    As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start 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 has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

    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 purchaser.

    What makes a Harwich lease problematic?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Harwich is not unique. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Yorkshire Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, and TSB all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

    I am the registered owner of a ground floor flat in Harwich, conveyancing was carried out 2005. Can you work out an approximate cost of a lease extension? Comparable flats in Harwich with a long lease are worth £183,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 invoiced every year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2104

    With just 80 years left to run the likely cost is going to range between £11,400 and £13,200 as well as professional fees.

    The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other issues that need to be considered and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harwich