Frequently asked questions relating to Hawkshead leasehold conveyancing
There are only 72 years unexpired on my lease in Hawkshead. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply 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. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to track down the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Hawkshead.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Hawkshead. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
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).
I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Hawkshead where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Hawkshead conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has been the owner 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 sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 purchaser.
We expect to complete our sale of a £450000 maisonette in Hawkshead on Tuesday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Hawkshead?
Hawkshead conveyancing on leasehold flats usually necessitates the purchaser’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries the majority will be content to do so. They may levy a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it exceeds £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.
Are there frequently found problems that you come across in leases for Hawkshead properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Hawkshead is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclays Direct all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.
Hawkshead Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing
Plenty Hawkshead leasehold flats will be liable to pay a service charge for the upkeep of the block levied by the landlord. Should you buy the flat you will have to pay this liability, usually in instalments accross the year. This can vary from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large common grounds. In all likelihood there will be a ground rent for you to pay yearly, this is usually not a exorbitant figure, say approximately £50-£100 but you should to check as sometimes it can be surprisingly expensive.
Make sure you discover if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For example some leases prohibit pets being permitted in certain buildings in Hawkshead. If you like the propertyin Hawkshead but your dog is not allowed to live with you then you will be presented with a difficult compromise.
How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their service charge payments?