Recently asked questions relating to New Malden leasehold conveyancing
I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in New Malden.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a half-yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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 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 today plan to offer on a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in New Malden. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in New Malden 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. It is clear that you are buying in New Malden so you should seriously consider looking for a New Malden conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should report to you on the legal implications.
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in New Malden. 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 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 work for a busy estate agency in New Malden where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local New Malden conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with 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.
What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a New Malden conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a New Malden conveyancing firm) it is most important 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 New Malden conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be of use:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a New Malden conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?
in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to make a decision on the sum to be paid.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a New Malden property is Flat D 15 Claremont Gardens in September 2013. TheTribunal determined in accordance with section48 and Schedule13 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease should be fourteen thousand one hundred and eighty seven pounds (£14,187.00) This case related to 1 flat.