Top Five Questions relating to Patcham leasehold conveyancing
Jane (my partner) and I may need to sub-let our Patcham ground floor flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Patcham conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Notwithstanding that your previous Patcham conveyancing lawyer is no longer around you can check your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the premises. The accepted inference is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to obtain permission from your landlord or some other party before subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without first obtaining permission. Such consent must not not be unreasonably withheld. If the lease prohibits you from subletting the property you should ask your landlord for their consent.
I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Patcham both have approximately 50 years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Patcham is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the value of the premises. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Patcham conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Patcham. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
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. Strange as it may seem, 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 busy estate agency in Patcham where we see a number of leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Patcham conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
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. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done 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 purchaser.
What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Patcham conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Patcham conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you make enquires with several firms including non Patcham conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be of use:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Patcham Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Queries before buying
How is the lease structured?
Be sure to find out if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For instance plenty of leases prohibit pets being permitted in in a block in Patcham. If you like the apartmentin Patcham however your cat is not allowed to move with you then you have a very hard choice.
Many Patcham leasehold apartments will have a service bill for the upkeep of the block invoiced on behalf of the landlord. Should you purchase the property you will have to meet this amount, normally quarterly throughout the year. This can differ from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for buildings with lifts and large common grounds. There will also be a rentcharge to be met annual, normally this is not a significant figure, say approximately £25-£75 but you should to enquire as occasionally it could be many hundreds of pounds.