Recently asked questions relating to St James leasehold conveyancing
I today plan to offer on a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in St James. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in St James ?
Most houses in St James are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in St James in which case you should be looking for a St James conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.
I am looking at a couple of apartments in St James both have approximately forty five years unexpired on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
A lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in St James. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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. 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 busy estate agency in St James where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local St James conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can instigate 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser 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 has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
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 buyer.
What are your top tips when it comes to finding a St James conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a St James conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non St James conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
I am the registered owner of a a ground floor purpose built flat in St James. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the LVT to determine the price.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a St James flat is Flats 12A & 19, Evelyn Mansions Carlisle Place in June 2009. The Tribunal held that the price to be paid for the new lease of Flat 12A is £168,824, For the other flat the price was set at £169,110 This case related to 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 56 years.