Recently asked questions relating to Sawston leasehold conveyancing
Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Sawston. Before I get started I would like to find out the remaining lease term.
If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Sawston - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I only have Fifty years unexpired on my lease in Sawston. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What should I do?
If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order 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 have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent should be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Sawston.
I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Sawston.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly service charge invoice – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Sawston. Do I have any liability for 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 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 work for a long established estate agent office in Sawston where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Sawston conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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.
Sawston Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing
Please note if it is fewer than eighty years it will have adverse implications on the value of the flat. Check with your mortgage company that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. Leases with fewer than 80 years remaining means that you will probably need a lease extension sooner rather than later and you need to have some idea of what this would cost. Remember, in most cases you would need to own the residence for 24 months before you are legally able to carry out a lease extension.
Does the lease include onerous restrictions?
How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their service charge payments?