Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Stotfold:

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Questions and Answers: Stotfold leasehold conveyancing

I have just started marketing my garden flat in Stotfold.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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 am looking at a couple of flats in Stotfold which have about 50 years remaining on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Stotfold. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is advisable to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Stotfold. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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 am employed by a reputable estate agency in Stotfold where we have experienced a number of flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Stotfold conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 purchaser.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Stotfold with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Stotfold can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Stotfold leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such works. Where you dont have the consents to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Stotfold leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Stotfold home move. If a new share certificate is required, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • I invested in buying a leasehold flat in Stotfold, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. Can you work out an approximate cost of a lease extension? Comparable flats in Stotfold with a long lease are worth £175,000. The ground rent is £65 charged once a year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2082

    With only 58 years unexpired the likely cost is going to range between £22,800 and £26,400 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward placing reliance on this information without first getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Stotfold