Southgate leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I am hoping to sign contracts shortly on a ground floor flat in Southgate. Conveyancing solicitors inform me that they will have a report out to me within the next couple of days. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?
Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Southgate should include some of the following:
- You should be sent a copy of the lease
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Southgate which have approximately 50 years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Southgate 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 property. For most purchasers and lenders, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property 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 property 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 Southgate 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Southgate. 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. 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 busy estate agent office in Southgate where we have experienced a number of flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Southgate conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start 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 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 before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Southgate conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Southgate conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with several firms including non Southgate conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Following months of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Southgate. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?
Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a Southgate conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Southgate property is 23 Beaconsfield Road in July 2013. The Tribunals decided that the amount payable was £31,203 for the freehold. This case related to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 70.31 years.