Questions and Answers: Whitechapel leasehold conveyancing
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Whitechapel. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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. 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).
I am employed by a busy estate agency in Whitechapel where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Whitechapel conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that 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 buyer 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 before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
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.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Whitechapel conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Whitechapel conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you talk with several firms including non Whitechapel conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:
- How many lease extensions have they carried out in Whitechapel in the last twenty four months?
All being well we will complete the sale of our £400000 maisonette in Whitechapel in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £360 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Whitechapel?
For most leasehold sales in Whitechapel conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :
- Completing pre-exchange enquiries
- Where consent is required before sale in Whitechapel
- Supplying insurance information
- Deeds of covenant upon sale
- Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
I am the proprietor of a a ground floor purpose built flat in Whitechapel. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount due for a lease extension?
in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the price.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Whitechapel property is 1-41 Royal Tower Lodge 40 Cartwright Street in April 2013. the tribunal adding the agreed value of capitalised ground rents and the reversion the price to be paid for the freehold was £1,187,000 This case related to 41 flats. The unexpired lease term was 107 years.
Are there common problems that you witness in leases for Whitechapel properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- 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
You may encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Skipton Building Society, and TSB all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.