Questions and Answers: Crayford leasehold conveyancing
I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Crayford.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay 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've found a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Crayford. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Crayford are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Crayford in which case you should be shopping around for a Crayford conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to transacting on 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 will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.
Back In 2007, I bought a leasehold flat in Crayford. Conveyancing and Nationwide Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Crayford who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Crayford conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Crayford where we have witnessed a few flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Crayford conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
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 finding a Crayford conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Crayford conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with several firms including non Crayford conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:
- How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
I have had difficulty in negotiating a lease extension in Crayford. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
if there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the amount due.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Crayford property is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case was in relation to 13 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 76 years.