Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Cambridge Heath:

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Common questions relating to Cambridge Heath leasehold conveyancing

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Cambridge Heath. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Cambridge Heath ?

The majority of houses in Cambridge Heath are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Cambridge Heath in which case you should be shopping around for a Cambridge Heath conveyancing solicitor 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 lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Cambridge Heath. 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 lessee 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 a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Cambridge Heath where we see a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Cambridge Heath conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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 buyer can avoid having 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 simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 buyer.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Cambridge Heath with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Cambridge Heath can be avoided where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Cambridge Heath leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. If you dont have the consents in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • A minority of Cambridge Heath leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can one make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Cambridge Heath conveyancing firm to assist?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Cambridge Heath conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Cambridge Heath flat is 26 Rhondda Grove in June 2009. The net price payable by the leaseholders as determined by the Tribunal was £3,015.13. This comprised £11,300 premium for the reversion less £8,284.87 costs as ordered by the County Court.

    When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Cambridge Heath what are the most frequent lease problems?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Cambridge Heath is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain clauses are erroneous. 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 building
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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 have 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. Yorkshire Building Society, Coventry Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.