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Frequently asked questions relating to Tewkesbury leasehold conveyancing

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Tewkesbury. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 Tewkesbury where we see a number of leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Tewkesbury conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

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 buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 purchaser.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Tewkesbury conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Tewkesbury conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Tewkesbury conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • Can they put you in touch with client in Tewkesbury who can give a testimonial?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Tewkesbury from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Tewkesbury can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Tewkesbury leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Where you fail to have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer before hand.
  • A minority of Tewkesbury leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £450000 garden flat in Tewkesbury in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £384 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Tewkesbury?

    Tewkesbury conveyancing on leasehold flats usually necessitates the buyer’s solicitor sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries the majority will be content to assist. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it exceeds £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has little option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.

    I own a garden flat in Tewkesbury, conveyancing having been completed in 1996. Can you please calculate a probable premium for a statutory lease extension? Equivalent flats in Tewkesbury with a long lease are worth £169,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £65 yearly. The lease ends on 21st October 2085

    With just 65 years remaining on your lease we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £16,200 and £18,600 as well as legals.

    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 detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Tewkesbury