Cowley leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Cowley. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Cowley are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Cowley in which case you should be shopping around for a Cowley conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Cowley. Conveyancing and Norwich and Peterborough Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing solicitor in Cowley who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Cowley conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I am looking at a couple of apartments in Cowley both have about 50 years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Cowley is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the value of the property. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than 75 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 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 Cowley 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 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Cowley. 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 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. It is an essential part 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).
Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Cowley from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cowley can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
- The majority freeholders or managing agents in Cowley charge for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cowley.
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a Cowley conveyancing firm to help?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the price.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Cowley property is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69 years.