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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Barnard Castle

I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Barnard Castle. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Barnard Castle ?

The majority of houses in Barnard Castle are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Barnard Castle in which case you should be shopping around for a Barnard Castle conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free 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. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Barnard Castle. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. Strange as it may seem, 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).

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Barnard Castle where we see a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Barnard Castle conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with 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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Barnard Castle conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Barnard Castle conveyancing firm) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Barnard Castle conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Barnard Castle who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Barnard Castle from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Barnard Castle can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Barnard Castle state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you dont have the consents in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in advance.
  • Some Barnard Castle 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 financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the yearly 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 solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a new share certificate can be a time consuming formality and delays many a Barnard Castle conveyancing transaction. Where a new share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I purchased a 1 bedroom flat in Barnard Castle, conveyancing having been completed half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Comparable flats in Barnard Castle with an extended lease are worth £233,000. The ground rent is £65 invoiced every year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2084

    You have 63 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £17,100 and £19,800 plus professional fees.

    The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure without more detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

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    Lease Extensions in Barnard Castle