Greenwich leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed flat in Greenwich.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?
The sensible thing to do is 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.
I own a leasehold house in Greenwich. Conveyancing and Platform Home Loans Ltd mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Greenwich who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a Greenwich conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Greenwich both have in the region of 50 years remaining on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Greenwich is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises 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 premises 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 Greenwich 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Greenwich. Am I liable to pay 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. 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).
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Greenwich with the intention of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Greenwich can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers representatives.
- Many landlords or Management Companies in Greenwich charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Greenwich.
I have given up seeking a lease extension in Greenwich. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a Greenwich conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Greenwich flat is 73 Walerand Road in August 2012. the result of the findings of the Tribunal led to a premium to be paid for the extended lease in respect of Flat 73 in the sum of £10,040. The premium applicable in respect of Flat 85 was £5,710. This case affected 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 72 years.