Hawkshead leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I want to let out my leasehold apartment in Hawkshead. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?
A lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Hawkshead do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.
I have just started marketing my 2 bed flat in Hawkshead.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
The sensible thing to do is pay 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Hawkshead which have approximately 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Hawkshead is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the value of the premises. For most buyers and banks, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property 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 property 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 Hawkshead conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. 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 am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Hawkshead where we have witnessed a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Hawkshead conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser 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 has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is 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 are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Hawkshead conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Hawkshead conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Hawkshead conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Hawkshead - Examples of Questions you should consider before Purchasing
In the main the outlay for major works are not included within service charges, although there some managing agents in Hawkshead ask leaseholders to contribute towards a sinking fund created for the specific intention of establishing a fund for major repairs or maintenance.
Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge payments?
This information is helpful as a) areas may result in problems in the block as the communal areas may start to deteriorate if maintenance are not paid for b) if the tenants have an issue with the running of the building you will need to have full disclosure