Frequently asked questions relating to Portland leasehold conveyancing
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years unexpired on my flat in Portland. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What should I do?
On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission 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 have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Portland.
Due to exchange soon on a leasehold property in Portland. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they will have a report out to me within the next couple of days. What should I be looking out for?
Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Portland should include some of the following:
- The physical extent of the property. This will be the flat itself but could also include a loft or basement if appropriate.
I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Portland both have approximately fifty years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Portland is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the salability 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 property 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 a residence 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 Portland conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Portland. Am I liable to pay 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. 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 be sure 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).
What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Portland conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Portland conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Portland conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Portland - Sample of Queries before Purchasing
Is the freehold reversion owned collectively by the leaseholders?
Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge liability?
Please note that where the lease has fewer than 80 years it will impact the value of the apartment. Check with your mortgage company that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will probably require a lease extension at some point and you need to have some idea of what this would cost. Remember, in most cases you will need to own the premises for two years in order to be legally able to carry out a lease extension.