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Recently asked questions relating to Paignton leasehold conveyancing

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Paignton. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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. However, 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 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).

I am employed by a reputable estate agent office in Paignton where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Paignton conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease 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. This means that the proposed purchaser 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 simultaneously with 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 purchaser.

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

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Paignton can be avoided if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Paignton state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • Some Paignton leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unresolved. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy formality and slows down many a Paignton conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £125000 flat in Paignton next Thursday . The management company has quoted £360 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Paignton?

    Paignton conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often involves the purchaser’s solicitor submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to assist. They are entitled charge a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it exceeds £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to complete the sale of your home.

    What makes a Paignton lease problematic?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Paignton. All leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You could have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Birmingham Midshires, Barnsley Building Society, and Bank of Ireland all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Paignton Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Queries before buying

      What is the the remaining lease term? How is the lease structured? The answer will be useful as a) areas may cause problems in the block as the communal areas may begin to deteriorate where services are not paid for b) if the tenants have a dispute with the managing agents you will want to know about it

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Paignton