Questions and Answers: Wickford leasehold conveyancing
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Wickford. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.
If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Wickford - 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 am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Wickford which have approximately fifty years left on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Wickford is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat 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 property 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 Wickford 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 They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new 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 Wickford. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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).
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Wickford conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Wickford conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Wickford conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
All being well we will complete our sale of a £425000 apartment in Wickford on Monday in a week. The landlords agents has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Wickford?
Wickford conveyancing on leasehold apartments more often than not requires the buyer’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries most will be content to assist. They are at liberty charge a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it is in excess of £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to sell the property.
Wickford Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing
Make sure you discover if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For example it is very common in Wickford leases that pets are not permitted in in a block in Wickford. If you love the propertyin Wickford but your cat is not allowed to make the move with you then you have a very hard compromise.
What is the the remaining lease term?
Most Wickford leasehold properties will have a service bill for the upkeep of the block invoiced by the management company. Should you purchase the flat you will have to meet this charge, usually in instalments accross the year. This can vary from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for bigger purpose-built blocks. In all likelihood there will be a ground rent for you to pay annual, ordinarily this is not a exorbitant figure, say about £50-£100 but you need to check as occasionally it can be many hundreds of pounds.