Winterbourne leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I only have Sixty One years remaining on my flat in Winterbourne. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What should I do?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the freeholder. For most situations an enquiry agent may be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document to be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Winterbourne.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Winterbourne. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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. However, 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 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 work for a busy estate agent office in Winterbourne where we see a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Winterbourne conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has been the owner 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. 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 disposal of the property.
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 purchaser.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Winterbourne conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Winterbourne conveyancing firm) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak 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 of use:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £375000 apartment in Winterbourne in 8 days. The management company has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Winterbourne?
Winterbourne conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually requires the purchaser’s lawyer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to these enquiries the majority will be willing to assist. They may charge a reasonable charge for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.
I acquired a basement flat in Winterbourne, conveyancing having been completed half a dozen years ago. Can you work out an approximate cost of a lease extension? Corresponding properties in Winterbourne with a long lease are worth £238,000. The ground rent is £45 invoiced annually. The lease finishes on 21st October 2096
With just 75 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to be between £12,400 and £14,200 as well as legals.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action based on this information before getting professional advice.