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Common questions relating to Wickford leasehold conveyancing

There are only 62 years unexpired on my lease in Wickford. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?

If 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 demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to try and locate and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Wickford.

I’m about to sell my 2 bed apartment in Wickford.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – what should I do?

It best that you discharge 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Wickford. Am I liable to pay 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. It is an essential part 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 work for a long established estate agent office in Wickford where we see a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Wickford conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. 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 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.

Completion in due on our sale of a £200000 maisonette in Wickford in just under a week. The management company has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Wickford?

Wickford conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually involves the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address such questions most will be willing to do so. They are entitled invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

I acquired a leasehold flat in Wickford, conveyancing having been completed in 2000. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Comparable flats in Wickford with an extended lease are worth £184,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £65 invoiced annually. The lease expires on 21st October 2077

With just 55 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £31,400 and £36,200 plus costs.

The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to supply the actual costs without more detailed due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be additional issues that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward based on this information without first getting professional advice.

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Lease Extensions in Wickford