Frequently asked questions relating to St Paul's Cray leasehold conveyancing
I have just started marketing my 2 bed flat in St Paul's Cray.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly maintenance 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 until 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in St Paul's Cray. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in St Paul's Cray ?
Most houses in St Paul's Cray are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in St Paul's Cray so you should seriously consider shopping around for a St Paul's Cray conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in St Paul's Cray. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
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. 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).
I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in St Paul's Cray where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local St Paul's Cray conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 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 agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can one apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a St Paul's Cray conveyancing firm to help?
in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to decide the amount due.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a St Paul's Cray property is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 50.57 years.
Are there common deficiencies that you encounter in leases for St Paul's Cray properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in St Paul's Cray is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
- 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 will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Barclays , The Mortgage Works, and Bank of Ireland 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 problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.