Recently asked questions relating to St James's leasehold conveyancing
I am attracted to a two apartments in St James's both have in the region of 50 years remaining on the leases. should I be concerned?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in St James's is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. For most buyers and banks, 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 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 St James's conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new 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 St James's. Do I have any liability for 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. 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 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 are your top tips when it comes to finding a St James's conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a St James's conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non St James's conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:
- How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in St James's from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in St James's can be reduced if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
- The majority landlords or Management Companies in St James's levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in St James's.
Having spent years of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in St James's. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a St James's conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a St James's premises is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 73.26 years.
Are there frequently found defects that you witness in leases for St James's properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in St James's is not unique. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, The Mortgage Works, and Clydesdale all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.