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Sample questions relating to Becontree leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have 68 years remaining on my flat in Becontree. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. On the whole a specialist would be useful to conduct investigations and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Becontree.

I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Becontree. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Becontree are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Becontree so you should seriously consider looking for a Becontree conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.

I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Becontree both have about forty five years remaining on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Becontree is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. The majority of buyers and banks, leases with less than 75 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 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 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 Becontree 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 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 house in Becontree. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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 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 am employed by a reputable estate agency in Becontree where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Becontree conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm 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 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 wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as 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.

We have reached the end of our tether in negotiating a lease extension in Becontree. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the sum to be paid.

An example of a Lease Extension case for a Becontree property is 49 Aldborough Road South in July 2012. The Tribunal decided that the premium payable for the grant of the new lease was £13,925 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 61.36 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Becontree