Questions and Answers: Woodbury leasehold conveyancing
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Woodbury. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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. A critical element 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Woodbury where we have experienced a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Woodbury conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that 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 prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.
What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Woodbury conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Woodbury conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Woodbury conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:
- How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
We expect to complete our sale of a £125000 maisonette in Woodbury in just under a week. The management company has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Woodbury?
Woodbury conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually involves the buyer’s solicitor submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries the majority 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 £350, in some transactions it exceeds £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the charge is technically not due. In reality you have no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to complete the sale of your home.
Are there common problems that you encounter in leases for Woodbury properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Woodbury is not unique. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Barnsley Building Society, and Bank of Ireland all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.
I own a 1st floor flat in Woodbury, conveyancing having been completed 1996. Can you please calculate a probable premium for a statutory lease extension? Equivalent flats in Woodbury with over 90 years remaining are worth £261,000. The ground rent is £60 per annum. The lease terminates on 21st October 2086
You have 64 years left to run the likely cost is going to range between £16,200 and £18,600 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.
The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to provide the actual costs without more detailed due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.