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Frequently asked questions relating to Alston leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have 62 years unexpired on my lease in Alston. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent should be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Alston.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Alston. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Alston ?

Most houses in Alston are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Alston so you should seriously consider looking for a Alston conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should advise you fully on all the issues.

I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Alston both have in the region of 50 years remaining on the leases. should I be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Alston is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Alston conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Alston. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

In a situation 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. 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 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).

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £300000 maisonette in Alston in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Alston?

Alston conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally requires the purchaser’s solicitor sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to such questions the majority will be willing to assist. They may charge a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it exceeds £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the charge is technically not due. In reality you have little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to sell the property.

I am the registered owner of a 2 bed flat in Alston, conveyancing having been completed in 2010. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Corresponding flats in Alston with over 90 years remaining are worth £245,000. The ground rent is £50 per annum. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2092

With only 72 years left to run the likely cost is going to span between £8,600 and £9,800 as well as costs.

The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to advice on a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed due diligence. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

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Lease Extensions in Alston