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Questions and Answers: Seaton leasehold conveyancing

There are only Seventy years unexpired on my flat in Seaton. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. 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 extended by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Seaton.

I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a great 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 issues purchasing a leasehold house in Seaton. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Seaton ?

Most houses in Seaton are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Seaton in which case you should be shopping around for a Seaton conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution 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.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Seaton. Conveyancing and Santander mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing practitioner in Seaton who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Seaton conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Seaton where we have experienced a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Seaton conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that 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 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.

An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Seaton conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Seaton conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Seaton 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 useful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Seaton - Examples of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing

      On the whole the cost for major works tend not to be built into the service charges, albeit that there some managing agents in Seaton require leasehold owners to pay into a reserve fund and this is used to offset against major repairs or maintenance. How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their service charge payments? How long is the Lease?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Seaton