Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Hungerford:

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Questions and Answers: Hungerford leasehold conveyancing

I own a leasehold house in Hungerford. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing practitioner in Hungerford who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Hungerford conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Hungerford which have in the region of forty five years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Hungerford is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. 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 premises 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 Hungerford conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Hungerford. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. 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).

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Hungerford with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Hungerford can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Hungerford state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord approving such works. Where you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy process and slows down many a Hungerford conveyancing deal. If a new share certificate is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this via your solicitors. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete the disposal of our £200000 flat in Hungerford in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £384 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Hungerford?

    Hungerford conveyancing on leasehold apartments more often than not involves the purchaser’s conveyancer sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions the majority will be content to assist. They may levy a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it exceeds £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality one has little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    Hungerford Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing

      It is important to be aware if redecorating or some other major work is pending that will be shared between the leaseholders and will dramatically impact the level of the maintenance costs or result in a specific invoice. What is the name of the managing agents? You should be aware that where the lease has fewer than 80 years it will have adverse implications on the salability of the property. It is worth checking with your bank that they are happy with residual term of the lease. Leases with fewer than 80 years remaining means that you will almost definitely need a lease extension at some point and you need to have some idea of what this would cost. Remember, in most cases you would be be obliged to have owned the property for 24 months before you are eligible to extend the lease.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hungerford