Common questions relating to Thatcham leasehold conveyancing
I only have Seventy years unexpired on my lease in Thatcham. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. For most situations a specialist would be useful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Thatcham.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my ground floor apartment in Thatcham.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a quarterly service charge invoice – what should I do?
It best that you clear the invoice 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 until 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I am attracted to a two flats in Thatcham which have about forty five years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Thatcham is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Thatcham conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Thatcham. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
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. However, 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 agency in Thatcham where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Thatcham conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process 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 start 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 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 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.
I bought a split level flat in Thatcham, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. Can you work out an approximate cost of a lease extension? Corresponding flats in Thatcham with over 90 years remaining are worth £226,000. The ground rent is £45 per annum. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2091
With just 71 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to be between £9,500 and £11,000 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.
The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to supply the actual costs without more detailed due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.