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Questions and Answers: Mersea Island leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Seventy years left on my flat in Mersea Island. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have done all that could be expected to track down the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent would be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Mersea Island.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in Mersea Island.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?

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 management companies 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

Back In 2007, I bought a leasehold flat in Mersea Island. Conveyancing and Aldermore mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Mersea Island who previously acted has long since retired.Any advice?

First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Mersea Island conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Mersea Island both have about 50 years remaining on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Mersea Island is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the value of the property. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with under 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 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 premises 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 Mersea Island 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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 long established estate agent office in Mersea Island where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Mersea Island conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, 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 buyer.

Mersea Island Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Queries before buying

    The answer will be helpful as a) areas could result in problems for the block as the common areas may begin to deteriorate where services are not paid for b) if the tenants have an issue with the running of the building you will want to have all the details How much is the service charge and ground rent on the apartment? It would be wise to investigate if the the lease contains any adverse restrictions in the lease. For example some leases prohibit pets being allowed in in a block in Mersea Island. If you like the propertyin Mersea Island yet your cat is not allowed to live with you then you will be presented with a hard determination.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Mersea Island