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Recently asked questions relating to Accrington leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years remaining on my flat in Accrington. I now wish to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. On the whole a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Accrington.

I own a leasehold house in Accrington. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Accrington who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

First contact HMLR to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Accrington conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note 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 work for a busy estate agent office in Accrington where we see a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Accrington conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as 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 purchaser.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Accrington conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Accrington conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Accrington conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Accrington in the last year?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Accrington from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Accrington can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Accrington charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Accrington.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Accrington leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Where you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in advance.
  • A minority of Accrington leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Organising a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Accrington home move. If a reissued share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • Accrington Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Queries Prior to Purchasing

      Where a Accrington lease has fewer than 80 years it will affect the value of the flat. It is worth checking with your bank that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will most likely have to extend the lease sooner rather than later and it is worth finding out how much this will be. Remember, in most cases you will need to own the premises for a couple of years before you are eligible to extend the lease. What is the name of the managing agents? It is important to be aware if fixing the lift or some other significant cost is due shortly to be shared amongst the leasehold owners and may well dramatically increase the the service fees or require a specific invoice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Accrington