Questions and Answers: Whittlesey leasehold conveyancing
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Whittlesey. Before I get started I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.
If the lease is registered - and most are in Whittlesey - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details 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.
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years left on my flat in Whittlesey. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What should I do?
On the basis that you qualify, 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Whittlesey.
I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Whittlesey both have approximately fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Whittlesey is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. For most buyers and lenders, leases with under eighty 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 property 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 a residence 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 Whittlesey conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Whittlesey. 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Whittlesey where we see a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Whittlesey conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.
Whittlesey Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Questions you should consider before buying
On the whole the cost for major works are not wrapped into the maintenance charges, although there some managing agents in Whittlesey require tenants to contribute towards a sinking fund created for the specific intention of establishing a fund for major repairs or maintenance.
Where a Whittlesey lease has no more than eighty years it will impact the marketability of the flat. Check with your mortgage company that they are willing to lend given the lease term. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will probably require a lease extension sooner rather than later and it is worth discovering what this would cost. Remember, in most cases you would be be obliged to have been the owner of the property for 24 months in order to be legally able to extend the lease.
It is important to be aware if changing the roof or some other significant cost is anticipated to be shared amongst the leasehold owners and may well dramatically increase the the maintenance costs or necessitate a specific payment.