Top Five Questions relating to Downe leasehold conveyancing
I’m about to sell my basement apartment in Downe.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
It best that you 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 until 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 2006, I bought a leasehold flat in Downe. Conveyancing and Chelsea Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing solicitor in Downe who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
First contact HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Downe conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I work for a reputable estate agent office in Downe where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Downe conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-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 sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as 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.
What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Downe conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Downe conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Downe conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Downe with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Downe can be reduced if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
- Some Downe 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 financially capable of paying 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
I am the leaseholder of a ground-floor 1960’s flat in Downe. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for a lease extension?
Where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the price payable.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Downe premises is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 50.57 years.