As experienced property lawyers, we are well aware of the obstacles which can arise during the house buying process, particularly when buying a leasehold property, which can lead to delays and frustration for all parties.
It is important to be aware of the potential for delays, but many issues can be prevented by tackling them at the outset.
One of the main delays involving the sale and purchase of leasehold property is where a management company is required to provide service charge and general information concerning the maintenance of the property, prior to the moving date. It has been known for some landlords and management companies to take up to 2 – 3 months to supply a management pack which is needed in order for the transaction to proceed. This delay has a huge impact on the length of time taken for the transaction to proceed and can hold up those involved in any chain.
A management pack is normally required on those leasehold properties where a service charge is payable (usually flats, occasionally houses). We advise our clients to apply for the management pack as soon as a sale is agreed, in order to avoid any possible delays.
A further obstacle can be the cost of a leasehold management pack. Some landlords and agents will charge as much as £500 for the information. However, it is worth challenging this cost. This is an administration charge under the terms of the lease and strictly speaking, has to be reasonable. Your lawyer could challenge the cost by reference to The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.
If the management company is registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents, they are under an obligation to ensure that any charges made are proportionate and that the time taken to put together the required information is undertaken in a timely manner.
Being aware of the potential issues with management companies at the outset and challenging them appropriately, should result in a more smooth and efficient transaction.
If you have any questions please contact me or speak to a member of our conveyancing team on 0345 671 0276