Dartmouth Park leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Dartmouth Park.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
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 management companies 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
Back In 2005, I bought a leasehold house in Dartmouth Park. Conveyancing and National Westminster Bank mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Dartmouth Park who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to incur the fees of a Dartmouth Park conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Dartmouth Park. 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 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 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).
I am employed by a long established estate agency in Dartmouth Park where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Dartmouth Park conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as 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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
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 Dartmouth Park from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Dartmouth Park can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
- Some Dartmouth Park leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the annual 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 solicitors.
I am the proprietor of a ground floor flat in Dartmouth Park. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for a lease extension?
Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a Dartmouth Park conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Dartmouth Park residence is Flat 2 27 Mackeson Road in December 2012. The Tribunal assessed the value of the lease extension premium at £35,435 and rounded the figure to £35,500 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 64.77 years.