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Mersea Island leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have just discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Mersea Island. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Mersea Island are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Mersea Island so you should seriously consider looking for a Mersea Island conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

Back In 2001, I bought a leasehold house in Mersea Island. Conveyancing and Barclays mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. 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.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Mersea Island conveyancing lawyer 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 legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Mersea Island. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to 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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Mersea Island conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Mersea Island conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with several firms including non Mersea Island 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 useful:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Mersea Island with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Mersea Island can be avoided where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in Mersea Island charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Mersea Island.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Mersea Island home move. If a reissued share certificate is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Mersea Island - Examples of Questions you should ask before buying

      In the main the cost for major works tend not to be included within service charges, although there some managing agents in Mersea Island require tenants to contribute towards a reserve fund and this is used to offset against larger repairs or maintenance. It would be sensible to discover if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. By way of example it is very common in Mersea Island leases that pets are not permitted in certain buildings in Mersea Island. If you like the apartmentin Mersea Island however your dog is not allowed to make the move with you then you have a very difficult determination. Who are the managing agents?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Mersea Island