Leasehold Conveyancing in Southend - Get a Quote from the leasehold experts approved by your lender

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Recently asked questions relating to Southend leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Southend. Before I get started I require certainty as to the unexpired term of the lease.

Assuming the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Southend - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I only have 68 years left on my flat in Southend. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to locate the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent may be useful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Southend.

I am looking at a two maisonettes in Southend which have approximately 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Southend is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the marketability of the premises. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with less than eighty 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 premises 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 premises 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 Southend conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Southend. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to 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 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Southend from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Southend can be reduced if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Southend charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Southend.
  • Some Southend 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 financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a Southend conveyancing firm to help?

    Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a Southend conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Southend residence is 75 Woolstone Road in February 2012. the decision of the Tribunal was that the appropriate amount to be paid to purchase the freehold was the sum of £17,711 . This case affected 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 68.28 and 158.