Frequently asked questions relating to Westcombe Park leasehold conveyancing
I’m about to sell my garden apartment in Westcombe Park.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?
The sensible thing to do is clear the invoice 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Westcombe Park which have in the region of 50 years remaining on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Westcombe Park is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. For most purchasers and banks, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. 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 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 Westcombe Park 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 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 am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Westcombe Park where we see a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Westcombe Park conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.
Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers representatives.
- Many freeholders or Management Companies in Westcombe Park levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park.
Having spent years of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Westcombe Park. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?
Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Westcombe Park conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Westcombe Park premises is 73 Walerand Road in August 2012. the result of the findings of the Tribunal led to a premium to be paid for the extended lease in respect of Flat 73 in the sum of £10,040. The premium applicable in respect of Flat 85 was £5,710. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 72 years.
When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park what are the most common lease defects?
Leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park is not unique. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the property
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You will encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, Leeds Building Society, and Barclays Direct all have very detailed 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 grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.