Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Huntingdon:

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Questions and Answers: Huntingdon leasehold conveyancing

I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Huntingdon.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a half-yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?

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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I own a leasehold house in Huntingdon. Conveyancing and Santander mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in Huntingdon who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Huntingdon conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Huntingdon. Do I have any liability for 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. 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 work for a busy estate agent office in Huntingdon where we see a few flat sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Huntingdon conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 buyer.

What makes a Huntingdon lease unacceptable for security purposes?

Leasehold conveyancing in Huntingdon is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses 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 property
  • Insurance obligations
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

You could have 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. Santander, The Mortgage Works, and Clydesdale all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

I bought a garden flat in Huntingdon, conveyancing was carried out in 2009. How much will my lease extension cost? Equivalent properties in Huntingdon with over 90 years remaining are worth £193,000. The ground rent is £65 per annum. The lease finishes on 21st October 2094

With 72 years left to run we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £9,500 and £11,000 as well as costs.

The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

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Lease Extensions in Huntingdon