Frequently asked questions relating to Prescot leasehold conveyancing
Jane (my partner) and I may need to sub-let our Prescot ground floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Prescot conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
The lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Prescot do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.
I've found a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Prescot. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Prescot ?
The majority of houses in Prescot are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Prescot so you should seriously consider looking for a Prescot conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.
I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Prescot which have approximately forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?
A lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease shortens the marketability of the lease reduces and results in it becoming more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you get professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this field
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Prescot. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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. However, 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).
I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Prescot where we see a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Prescot conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is 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.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Prescot - Examples of Questions you should ask Prior to buying
The prefered form of lease structure is a share of the freehold. In this arrangement the lessees enjoy being in charge if their destiny and although a managing agent is usually retained where the building is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent acts for the leaseholders themselves.
Many Prescot leasehold properties will be liable to pay a service charge for maintenance of the block set by the management company. Where you buy the property you will have to pay this contribution, usually in instalments accross the year. This can vary from a couple of hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for large purpose-built blocks. In all likelihood there will be a ground rent for you to pay annual, this is usually not a large figure, say approximately £25-£75 but you need to enquire it because on occasion it can be many hundreds of pounds.
Does this lease have in excess of 90 years unexpired?