Highnam leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in Highnam.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until 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 hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Highnam. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Highnam ?
Most houses in Highnam are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Highnam so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Highnam conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Highnam. 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. 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 employed by a reputable estate agent office in Highnam where we see a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Highnam conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that 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 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 simultaneously with completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.
Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Highnam from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Highnam can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
- The majority freeholders or managing agents in Highnam charge for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Highnam.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Highnam - Examples of Queries Prior to buying
Is there a share of the freehold?
How much is the ground rent and service charge?
How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their maintenance charge payments?