Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Newington:

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Recently asked questions relating to Newington leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my ground floor apartment in Newington.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a yearly service charge demand – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Newington which have in the region of 50 years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Newington. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is advisable to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you get professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Newington. 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. It is an essential part 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 am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Newington where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Newington conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Newington with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Newington can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Newington levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Newington.
  • Some Newington leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the yearly 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where a dispute is unresolved. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Obtaining a duplicate share certificate can be a time consuming process and slows down many a Newington home move. Where a new share certificate is required, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • Having spent months of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Newington. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

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

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Newington flat is 1-41 Royal Tower Lodge 40 Cartwright Street in April 2013. the tribunal adding the agreed value of capitalised ground rents and the reversion the price to be paid for the freehold was £1,187,000 This case affected 41 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 107 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Newington