Top Five Questions relating to Ivybridge leasehold conveyancing
I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor apartment in Ivybridge.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – what should I do?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay 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 am looking at a two flats in Ivybridge both have approximately fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Ivybridge is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the premises. The majority of buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive 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 a residence 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 Ivybridge conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new 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 Ivybridge. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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 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 a negotiator for a busy estate agent office in Ivybridge where we have witnessed a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Ivybridge conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can initiate 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have 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.
What are the common deficiencies that you see in leases for Ivybridge properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Ivybridge. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts 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
A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. HSBC Bank, Chelsea Building Society, and Clydesdale 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.
Ivybridge Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Queries before buying
Are any of leasehold owners in arrears of their service charge payments?
The best form of lease structure is if the freehold reversion is owned by the leaseholders. In this situation the lessees benefit from being in charge if their destiny and notwithstanding that a managing agent is usually employed where it is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants.
This question is helpful as a) areas can cause problems for the building as the communal areas may begin to deteriorate where services are not paid for b) if the tenants have a dispute with the managing agents you will want to have all the details