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Questions and Answers: Lytchett Matravers leasehold conveyancing

I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Lytchett Matravers.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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 unless 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 attracted to a two maisonettes in Lytchett Matravers which have in the region of 50 years left on the leases. should I be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Lytchett Matravers is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. For most buyers and banks, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 property 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 a residence 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 Lytchett Matravers conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 employed by a busy estate agency in Lytchett Matravers where we have experienced a number of flat sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Lytchett Matravers conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as 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 purchaser.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Lytchett Matravers conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Lytchett Matravers conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Lytchett Matravers conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Lytchett Matravers who can give a testimonial?

  • All being well we will complete the sale of our £250000 apartment in Lytchett Matravers next week. The management company has quoted £300 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Lytchett Matravers?

    Lytchett Matravers conveyancing on leasehold flats normally involves the buyer’s conveyancer sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries the majority will be content to assist. They are entitled charge a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it exceeds £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, otherwise the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have little choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    Lytchett Matravers Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to buying

      You will want to discover as much as possible regarding the managing agents as they will affect your use and enjoyment of the property. As the proprietor of a leasehold property you will be at the mercy of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to day to day matters such as the cleanliness of the common parts. Ask other tenants if they are happy with them. Finally, be sure you understand the dates that you are obliged pay the maintenance charge to the appropriate party and precisely how they are spending that money. Does the lease include onerous restrictions? Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge payments?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Lytchett Matravers