Helsby leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Helsby. Before diving in I require certainty as to the number of years remaining on the lease.
Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Helsby - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Helsby. Conveyancing and Accord Mortgages Ltd mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Helsby who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Helsby conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Helsby. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to 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. However, 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 reputable estate agent office in Helsby where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Helsby conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that 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 proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
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 purchaser.
What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Helsby conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Helsby conveyancing firm) it is essential that they 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 that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Helsby - A selection of Queries Prior to buying
Who manages the building?
Its a good idea to discover as much as possible concerning the company managing the block as they will affect 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 practical issues like the tidiness of the communal areas. You should not be shy to ask prospective neighbours what they think of their service. Finally, investigate as to the dates that you are obliged pay the service charge to the managing agents and specifically how they are spending the funds.
How is the lease structured?