Questions and Answers: Swinton leasehold conveyancing
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Swinton. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
In a situation 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 Swinton where we see a few flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Swinton conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as 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 to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Swinton conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Swinton conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Swinton conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £375000 maisonette in Swinton in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £384 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Swinton?
Swinton conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often involves the purchaser’s lawyer sending enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer these enquiries most will be content to do so. They are at liberty levy a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it is above £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.
Are there frequently found deficiencies that you witness in leases for Swinton properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Swinton. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You may have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.
I invested in buying a split level flat in Swinton, conveyancing having been completed 1999. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Similar flats in Swinton with a long lease are worth £263,000. The ground rent is £55 per annum. The lease runs out on 21st October 2071
With just 50 years unexpired the likely cost is going to span between £42,800 and £49,400 as well as legals.
The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more detailed due diligence. Do not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward based on this information before getting professional advice.