Questions and Answers: Pangbourne leasehold conveyancing
Back In 2002, I bought a leasehold flat in Pangbourne. Conveyancing and Aldermore 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 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in Pangbourne who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Pangbourne 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 freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Pangbourne. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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 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 a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Pangbourne where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Pangbourne conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can initiate 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have 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 before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 finding a Pangbourne conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Pangbourne conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Pangbourne conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
What makes a Pangbourne lease problematic?
Leasehold conveyancing in Pangbourne is not unique. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements 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 may 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 Royal Bank of Scotland, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.
Pangbourne Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Queries Prior to buying
How much is the annual service fee and ground rent?
It would be prudent to discover as much as you can concerning the managing agents as they can either make your life much easier or uncomfortable. Being a leasehold owner you are frequently at the mercy of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to practical matters like the tidiness of the communal areas. Enquire of other tenants if they are happy with them. Finally, find out the dates that the maintenance charges are due to the managing agents and precisely what it includes.
Many Pangbourne leasehold flats will have a service bill for maintenance of the block set on behalf of the landlord. If you purchase the property you will have to meet this contribution, normally in instalments throughout the year. This may differ from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for buildings with lifts and large communal grounds. In all probability there will be a rentcharge for you to pay yearly, normally this is not a exorbitant sum, say about £50-£100 but you should to enquire as sometimes it could be prohibitively expensive.