Frequently asked questions relating to Winchelsea leasehold conveyancing
Frank (my husband) and I may need to sub-let our Winchelsea basement flat temporarily due to a new job. We used a Winchelsea conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
Your lease governs relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Winchelsea do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.
There are only Fifty years unexpired on my lease in Winchelsea. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to locate the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Winchelsea.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in Winchelsea.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay the invoice 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold flat in Winchelsea. Conveyancing and Yorkshire Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Winchelsea who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Winchelsea conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Winchelsea where we see a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Winchelsea conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has been the owner 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. 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 has to be done 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.
Winchelsea Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries Prior to Purchasing
Is there a share of the freehold?
If a Winchelsea lease has less than eighty years it will have adverse implications on the salability of the apartment. Check with your lender that they are happy with remaining years on the lease. A short lease means that you will almost definitely have to extend the lease at some point and it is worth finding out how much this would cost. Remember, in most cases you will be be obliged to have owned the premises for 24 months in order to be eligible to extend the lease.
What is the name of the managing agents?