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Questions and Answers: Alvaston leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Alvaston. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Alvaston are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Alvaston in which case you should be looking for a Alvaston conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should appraise you on the various issues.

I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Alvaston where we see a few flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Alvaston conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension process 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 proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Alvaston with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Alvaston can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Alvaston levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Alvaston.
  • A minority of Alvaston leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is below 75 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £475000 flat in Alvaston on Friday in a week. The managing agents has quoted £336 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Alvaston?

    Alvaston conveyancing on leasehold flats usually necessitates administration charges invoiced by freeholders :

    • Addressing pre-exchange questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Alvaston
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Alvaston leasehold property is £350. For Alvaston conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to provide the information.

    When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Alvaston what are the most frequent lease problems?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Alvaston is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You may encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Bank of Scotland, and Britannia all have very detailed requirements 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, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    I invested in buying a 1 bedroom flat in Alvaston, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Equivalent properties in Alvaston with an extended lease are worth £224,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 invoiced annually. The lease finishes on 21st October 2075

    With just 54 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £31,400 and £36,200 as well as professional fees.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to advice on the actual costs without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional concerns that need to be considered and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward based on this information without first getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Alvaston