Mersea Island leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Mersea Island. Conveyancing and Barnsley Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Mersea Island who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Mersea Island conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Mersea Island. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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. 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 work for a reputable estate agency in Mersea Island where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Mersea Island conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease 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. This means that the buyer need not have 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 prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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.
We expect to complete the sale of our £150000 flat in Mersea Island next week. The landlords agents has quoted £360 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Mersea Island?
Mersea Island conveyancing on leasehold flats normally involves the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions the majority will be content to do so. They may charge a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that you have little choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.
In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Mersea Island what are the most frequent lease defects?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Mersea Island. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
- A duty to insure the building
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You may have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Barclays , Bank of Scotland, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Mersea Island - Examples of Queries Prior to Purchasing
Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge liability?
In the main the cost for major works are not included within maintenance charges, although a few managing agents in Mersea Island ask tenants to pay into a reserve fund and this is used to offset against larger works.
Does this lease have in excess of 85 years left?