Brockley leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
There are only 62 years remaining on my lease in Brockley. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Brockley.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement apartment in Brockley.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?
The sensible thing to do is clear the invoice 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 unless 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of maisonettes in Brockley which have about forty five years remaining on the leases. should I be concerned?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Brockley is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under eighty 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 property 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 Brockley conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Brockley. 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 lessee 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 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 Brockley where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Brockley conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
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. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as 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 purchaser.
I own a two-bedroom flat in Brockley. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?
Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a Brockley conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Brockley property is Flat b 14 Kemble Road in May 2014. The Tribunal assessed the value of the premium payable for the lease extension to be £9,761 This case was in relation to 1 flat.