Questions and Answers: Pitsea leasehold conveyancing
There are only Seventy years left on my flat in Pitsea. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report to be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Pitsea.
I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed flat in Pitsea.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay 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 management companies 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 am looking at a two maisonettes in Pitsea both have in the region of 50 years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Pitsea is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the value of the premises. The majority of buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive 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 Pitsea 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 any new 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 property in Pitsea. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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).
Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Pitsea conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Pitsea conveyancing firm) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Pitsea conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
I inherited a basement flat in Pitsea, conveyancing formalities finalised 2000. How much will my lease extension cost? Comparable flats in Pitsea with over 90 years remaining are worth £227,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £65 charged once a year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2080
With 57 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to be between £25,700 and £29,600 plus professional fees.
The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to provide the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action based on this information without first getting professional advice.