Merton Park leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years remaining on my lease in Merton Park. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What are my options?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. For most situations an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Merton Park.
I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Merton Park.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the service charge 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 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Merton Park which have in the region of forty five years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Merton Park is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. For most purchasers and banks, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 property 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 property 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 Merton Park conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Merton Park. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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).
My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in Merton Park. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a Merton Park conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Merton Park residence is 14 Nutwell Street in January 2014. The premium payable for the acquisition of a new lease of the subject premises was in the sum of £30,523 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 62.94 years.
Are there frequently found deficiencies that you see in leases for Merton Park properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Merton 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:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts 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 can cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Barclays , Virgin Money, and Britannia all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.