Top Five Questions relating to Winterbourne leasehold conveyancing
My wife and I may need to sub-let our Winterbourne ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Winterbourne 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 allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
The lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Winterbourne do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.
I’m about to sell my garden apartment in Winterbourne.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Winterbourne. Conveyancing and Godiva Mortgages Ltd mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in Winterbourne who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Winterbourne conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, 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 Winterbourne where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Winterbourne conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 Winterbourne conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Winterbourne conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Winterbourne conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Winterbourne Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Queries Prior to buying
It would be sensible to discover as much as you can concerning the company managing the block as they can either make life much easier or a lot more difficult. As the proprietor of a leasehold property you will be in the clutches of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to every day matters like the upkeep of the common parts. Don't be shy to ask prospective neighbours what they think of their management. Finally, be sure you understand the dates that the service fees are due to the managing agents and specifically how they are spending the funds.
Are there any major works on the horizon that will likely increase the maintenance charges?
Who manages the building?