Questions and Answers: Osterley leasehold conveyancing
I’m about to sell my basement flat in Osterley.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a half-yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
It best that you pay 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 management companies 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 appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Osterley. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Osterley ?
Most houses in Osterley are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Osterley in which case you should be shopping around for a Osterley conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to 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 will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Osterley. 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 lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, 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 am employed by a reputable estate agent office in Osterley where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Osterley conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 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 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.
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Osterley from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Osterley can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
- The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Osterley charge for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Osterley.
Having spent years of correspondence we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Osterley. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?
if there is a absentee landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the premium.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Osterley property is Ground Floor Flat 91 Bath Road in May 2009. in a case where the freeholder could not be traced, the Brentford County Court ordered that the Lease be surrendered in return for the grant of a new lease of the Premises at a premium determined by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The tribunal concluded that the price payable by the Applicant for the new lease of the premises be £15,900 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 60.45 years.