Questions and Answers: Waltham Abbey leasehold conveyancing
I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Waltham Abbey.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a quarterly service charge demand – Do I pay up?
It best that you pay 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Waltham Abbey. 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 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 ensure 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 agency in Waltham Abbey where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Waltham Abbey conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
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. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is 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.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Waltham Abbey conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Waltham Abbey conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Waltham Abbey conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can one make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Waltham Abbey conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?
Where there is a absentee landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to determine the sum to be paid.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Waltham Abbey property is 201 & 201a St. Barnabas Road in October 2013. The Tribunal decided that the price to be paid by the Applicants for the freehold interest is £20,071. This case related to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 69.26 years.
What makes a Waltham Abbey lease defective?
Leasehold conveyancing in Waltham Abbey is not unique. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.