Questions and Answers: Newbridge leasehold conveyancing
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden apartment in Newbridge.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Newbridge. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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. Strange as it may seem, 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 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 long established estate agent office in Newbridge where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Newbridge conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?
Provided that 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. This means that the proposed purchaser 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 before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
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.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Newbridge conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Newbridge conveyancing firm) it is essential that they 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 Newbridge conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be of use:
- How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Are there frequently found deficiencies that you see in leases for Newbridge properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Newbridge is not unique. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Yorkshire Building Society, The Mortgage Works, and TSB all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.
Newbridge Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries Prior to buying
What prohibitions are there in the Newbridge Lease?
Who manages the block?
How is the lease structured?