Top Five Questions relating to Aldwych leasehold conveyancing
There are only 68 years remaining on my flat in Aldwych. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order 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 demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. For most situations a specialist would be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Aldwych.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. 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 Aldwych. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Aldwych are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Aldwych so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Aldwych conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.
I am looking at a couple of flats in Aldwych which have approximately forty five years remaining on the lease term. should I be concerned?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Aldwych is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less marketable. 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 property 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 premises 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 Aldwych 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 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 Aldwych. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before 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. 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 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 work for a long established estate agency in Aldwych where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Aldwych conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 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 disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 purchaser.
Despite our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in seeking a lease extension in Aldwych. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Aldwych conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Aldwych property is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 73.26 years.