Leigh leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
There are only 72 years left on my lease in Leigh. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?
If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent may be useful to conduct investigations and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Leigh.
I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Leigh. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Leigh ?
The majority of houses in Leigh are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Leigh in which case you should be shopping around for a Leigh conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Leigh. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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. 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).
What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Leigh conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Leigh conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with several firms including non Leigh conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
Are there frequently found defects that you see in leases for Leigh properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Leigh is not unique. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions 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 property
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You may encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Chelsea Building Society, and Britannia 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, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.
I am the registered owner of a 1st floor flat in Leigh, conveyancing formalities finalised in 2009. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Similar properties in Leigh with a long lease are worth £199,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 per annum. The lease terminates on 21st October 2099
With only 78 years unexpired the likely cost is going to span between £10,500 and £12,000 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of detailed investigations. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional concerns that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.