Portslade leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
My partner and I may need to let out our Portslade garden flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Portslade conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
A lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will say if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Portslade do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.
I only have 62 years unexpired on my flat in Portslade. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?
If 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 lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent may be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Portslade.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Portslade both have approximately fifty years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Portslade is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. For most buyers and banks, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 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 Portslade 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 flat in Portslade. 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. Strange as it may seem, 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 agency in Portslade where we see a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Portslade conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have 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 at the same time as completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.
I invested in buying a leasehold flat in Portslade, conveyancing was carried out 2001. How much will my lease extension cost? Comparable flats in Portslade with over 90 years remaining are worth £249,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 invoiced every year. The lease ends on 21st October 2083
You have 63 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £17,100 and £19,800 plus legals.
The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to provide a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed investigations. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional concerns that need to be considered and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward based on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.