Questions and Answers: West Thurrock leasehold conveyancing
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in West Thurrock. Before diving in I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.
If the lease is registered - and almost all are in West Thurrock - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I today plan to offer on a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in West Thurrock. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in West Thurrock are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in West Thurrock in which case you should be looking for a West Thurrock conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in West Thurrock. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
In a situation 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).
I work for a reputable estate agency in West Thurrock where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local West Thurrock conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the vendor 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser 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 before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
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.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a West Thurrock conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a West Thurrock conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non West Thurrock conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a West Thurrock conveyancing firm to help?
in cases where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the price payable.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a West Thurrock residence is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case related to 13 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 76 years.