Thornhill leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my ground floor apartment in Thornhill.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Thornhill. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in Thornhill are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Thornhill so you should seriously consider looking for a Thornhill conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.
I am looking at a couple of flats in Thornhill which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are plenty of short leases in Thornhill. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As a lease shortens the saleability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies may be unwilling to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you get professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this field
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Thornhill. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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 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 am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Thornhill where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Thornhill conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means 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 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 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.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Thornhill - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing
How long is the Lease?
Best to be warned if fixing the lift or some other significant cost is coming up that will be shared amongst the leaseholders and may well materially increase the the maintenance costs or require a specific invoice.
Please note if it is less than 80 years it will have adverse implications on the marketability of the apartment. It is worth checking with your bank that they are content with remaining years on the lease. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will probably have to extend the lease at some point and it is worth finding out how much this will be. Remember, in most cases you will need to own the residence for a couple of years before you are legally able to extend the lease.