Questions and Answers: Pimlico leasehold conveyancing
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Pimlico. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Pimlico are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Pimlico so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Pimlico conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will advise you fully on all the issues.
I own a leasehold house in Pimlico. Conveyancing and The Royal Bank of Scotland mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Pimlico who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?
The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Pimlico conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Pimlico which have about forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the value of the lease decreases and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Pimlico. 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. 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 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).
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Pimlico conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Pimlico conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Pimlico conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
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 Pimlico. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?
You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a Pimlico conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Pimlico residence is Flats 12A & 19, Evelyn Mansions Carlisle Place in June 2009. The Tribunal held that the price to be paid for the new lease of Flat 12A is £168,824, For the other flat the price was set at £169,110 This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 56 years.