Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Elm Park:

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Top Five Questions relating to Elm Park leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed apartment in Elm Park.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

It best that you discharge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Elm Park. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Elm Park are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Elm Park in which case you should be shopping around for a Elm Park conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in dealing with 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 with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. 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 lawyer will advise you fully on all the issues.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Elm Park. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. A critical element 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 Elm Park where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Elm Park conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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 buyer need not have to sit tight for 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.

An alternative approach is 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.

I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a Elm Park conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Elm Park conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Elm Park property is 37 Lodge Court High Street in November 2013. the decision of the LVT was that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £25,559 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 57.5 years.

In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Elm Park what are the most common lease problems?

Leasehold conveyancing in Elm Park is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain sections are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
  • Insurance obligations
  • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
  • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Barnsley Building Society, and Aldermore all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Elm Park