Recently asked questions relating to Helsby leasehold conveyancing
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Helsby. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
In a situation 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. It is an essential part 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 a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Helsby where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Helsby conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 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 sale.
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 buyer.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Helsby conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Helsby conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with several firms including non Helsby conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Helsby from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Helsby can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
- The majority landlords or managing agents in Helsby levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Helsby.
What makes a Helsby lease defective?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Helsby. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are erroneous. 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 premises
- 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
You could encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Birmingham Midshires, Barnsley Building Society, and Britannia 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 provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.
Helsby Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries Prior to buying
Does the lease have onerous restrictions?
For most Helsby leaseholds the cost for major works tend not to be included within service charges, albeit that some managing agents in Helsby require leasehold owners to contribute towards a reserve fund and this is used to offset against larger repairs or maintenance.
Its a good idea to find out as much as possible concerning the managing agents as they will impact your use and enjoyment of the property. Being a leasehold owner you are often in the clutches of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to day to day matters such as the cleanliness of the communal areas. You should not be afraid to ask other tenants whether they are happy with them. Finally, be sure you understand the dates that you are obliged pay the service charge to the appropriate party and precisely what it includes.