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Top Five Questions relating to Saltash leasehold conveyancing

I’m about to sell my garden flat in Saltash.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a half-yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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 managing agents 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Saltash. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to 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. 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 a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Saltash where we see a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Saltash conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-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 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 buyer.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Saltash conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Saltash conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Saltash conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • What are the costs for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Are there common deficiencies that you see in leases for Saltash properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Saltash. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

    I am the registered owner of a 2 bed flat in Saltash, conveyancing was carried out in 2002. Can you please calculate a probable premium for a statutory lease extension? Similar flats in Saltash with a long lease are worth £180,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £55 invoiced annually. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2091

    With 70 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £8,600 and £9,800 as well as professional fees.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more comprehensive investigations. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be considered and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Saltash