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Top Five Questions relating to Lymm leasehold conveyancing

There are only Sixty One years left on my flat in Lymm. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent may be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report which can be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Lymm.

I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Lymm.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

It best that you 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 managing agents 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've recently bought a leasehold house in Lymm. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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 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 a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Lymm where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Lymm conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Lymm conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Lymm conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Lymm conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Lymm Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Questions you should consider before buying

      Is anyone aware of any major works in the planning that will increase the service fees? This information is helpful as a) areas can result in problems in the building as the communal areas may start to deteriorate if repairs remain unpaid b) if the tenants have a dispute with the managing agents you will need to have full disclosure You should want to discover as much as possible concerning the managing agents as they will either make your living at the property much simpler or a lot more difficult. Being a leasehold owner you are often at the mercy of the managing agents from a financial perspective and when it comes to daily matters like the tidiness of the common parts. Ask prospective neighbours if they are happy with them. In conclusion, investigate as to the dates that the maintenance fees are due to the relevant party and precisely how they are spending that money.

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    Lease Extensions in Lymm