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Frequently asked questions relating to Torpoint leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years remaining on my flat in Torpoint. I now wish to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. 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 apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Torpoint.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in Torpoint.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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 management companies 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 attracted to a couple of flats in Torpoint both have in the region of 50 years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Torpoint is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the property. The majority of purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises 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 property 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 Torpoint conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. 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 Torpoint. 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. 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).

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Torpoint with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Torpoint can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • Many landlords or managing agents in Torpoint levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Torpoint.
  • A minority of Torpoint 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 obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is ongoing. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to 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 clearly preferable to present the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I am the registered owner of a basement flat in Torpoint, conveyancing was carried out 4 years ago. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Corresponding flats in Torpoint with over 90 years remaining are worth £170,000. The ground rent is £65 levied per year. The lease terminates on 21st October 2102

    With just 79 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to be between £11,400 and £13,200 as well as legals.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

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    Lease Extensions in Torpoint