Common questions relating to Middleton leasehold conveyancing
I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Middleton.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – what should I do?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the service charge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold house in Middleton. Conveyancing and National Westminster Bank mortgage went though with no issue. 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 solicitor in Middleton who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?
First contact the Land Registry to make sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Middleton conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Middleton. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 employed by a busy estate agent office in Middleton where we see a few leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Middleton conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 sit tight for 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.
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 buyer.
What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Middleton conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Middleton conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Middleton conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Middleton - Examples of Queries Prior to Purchasing
Is anyone aware of any major works in the planning that could increase the service charges?
How many years remain on the lease?
Many Middleton leasehold flats will have a service charge for the upkeep of the block invoiced on behalf of the freeholder. Should you purchase the apartment you will have to pay this contribution, usually quarterly during the year. This may be anything from a couple of hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for buildings with lifts and large common grounds. There will also be a rentcharge for you to pay annual, ordinarily this is not a significant sum, say about £25-£75 but you should to enquire as on occasion it could be many hundreds of pounds.