Common questions relating to Rye leasehold conveyancing
I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Rye.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a half-yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
It best that you discharge the invoice 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 until 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 today plan to offer on a house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Rye. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in Rye are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Rye in which case you should be looking for a Rye conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will advise you fully on all the issues.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Rye. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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 employed by a reputable estate agent office in Rye where we see a few flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Rye conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. 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 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.
What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Rye conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Rye conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Rye conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Rye - Examples of Questions you should ask before buying
What is the service charge and ground rent on the flat?
How is the lease structured?
This information is important as a) areas can result in problems for the building as the communal areas may begin to deteriorate where services are not paid for b) if the tenants have a dispute with the running of the building you will want to have all the details