Sample questions relating to Highcliffe leasehold conveyancing
I have recently realised that I have 62 years remaining on my flat in Highcliffe. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report which can be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Highcliffe.
I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Highcliffe. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Highcliffe ?
Most houses in Highcliffe are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Highcliffe in which case you should be shopping around for a Highcliffe conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Highcliffe. Am I liable to pay 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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).
Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Highcliffe with the intention of expediting the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Highcliffe can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Highcliffe state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Where you fail to have the consents in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
What are the common problems that you see in leases for Highcliffe properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Highcliffe. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts 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 a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Accord Mortgages Ltd, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements 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 purchaser to pull out.
Highcliffe Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Queries before Purchasing
It would be sensible to find out as much as you can about the managing agents as they will either make your living at the property much easier or problematic. As the owner of a leasehold property you are often in the clutches of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to every day issues such as the cleanliness of the common parts. Enquire of prospective neighbours if they are happy with their service. On a final note, find out the dates that the maintenance charges are due to the managing agents and precisely how they are spending that money.
Best to be warned if a new roof is being installed or some other significant cost is due in the foreseeable future to be shared amongst the leaseholders and could well materially impact the level of the service costs or result in a one time payment.
The majority of Highcliffe leasehold flats will incur a service charge for the upkeep of the building set on behalf of the landlord. Where you purchase the flat you will have to meet this liability, usually periodically during the year. This can be anything from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for bigger purpose-built buildings. There will also be a ground rent to be met annual, this is usually not a large sum, say around £50-£100 but you should to check it because sometimes it could be prohibitively expensive.