Top Five Questions relating to Covent Garden leasehold conveyancing
Due to complete next month on a studio apartment in Covent Garden. Conveyancing lawyers inform me that they report fully next week. What should I be looking out for?
The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Covent Garden should include some of the following:
- You should be sent a copy of the lease
I today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Covent Garden. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Covent Garden are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Covent Garden so you should seriously consider looking for a Covent Garden conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to advising 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 at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should advise you fully on all the issues.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Covent Garden. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to 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. 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 work for a reputable estate agency in Covent Garden where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Covent Garden conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 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 disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is 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.
What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Covent Garden conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Covent Garden conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with several firms including non Covent Garden conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
I own a a ground floor purpose built flat in Covent Garden. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for the purchase of the freehold?
Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Covent Garden conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Covent Garden 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.