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Newbury leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Newbury. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Newbury - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

There are only 62 years remaining on my lease in Newbury. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?

If you qualify, 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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the landlord. On the whole a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Newbury.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden apartment in Newbury.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly 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 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.

I work for a reputable estate agency in Newbury where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Newbury conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as 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 buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

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.

What makes a Newbury lease problematic?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Newbury. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain clauses are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
  • Insurance obligations
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Barclays , Chelsea Building Society, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

Newbury Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Queries before buying

    Who takes charge for maintaining and repairing the block? How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their maintenance charge payments? For many Newbury leaseholds the outlay for major works are not wrapped into the service charges, albeit that some managing agents in Newbury ask tenants to contribute towards a sinking fund created for the specific purpose of establishing a fund for larger works.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Newbury