Sample questions relating to Totnes leasehold conveyancing
Jane (my partner) and I may need to let out our Totnes ground floor flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Totnes conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
Some leases for properties in Totnes do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.
I have recently realised that I have 68 years remaining on my flat in Totnes. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?
If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the freeholder. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Totnes.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed apartment in Totnes.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
The sensible thing to do is 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 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold house in Totnes. Conveyancing and Bank of Ireland mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing practitioner in Totnes who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First contact HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Totnes conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I work for a long established estate agent office in Totnes where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Totnes conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can commence 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. 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 needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
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 buyer.
Totnes Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Queries Prior to buying
How is the lease structured?
You should want to discover as much as you can regarding the managing agents as they can either make your life much easier or much more difficult. Being a leasehold owner you are frequently in the clutches of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to every day issues such as the cleanliness of the communal areas. Don't be shy to ask prospective neighbours what they think of them. Finally, find out the dates that the service fees are due to the appropriate party and precisely what you get for your money.
Most Totnes leasehold flats will be liable to pay a service bill for the upkeep of the block levied by the landlord. Where you acquire the apartment you will have to meet this contribution, usually quarterly accross the year. This could vary from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large communal areas. In all likelihood there will be a ground rent for you to pay annual, this is usually not a large figure, say about £50-£100 but you should to check it because sometimes it can be many hundreds of pounds.