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Recently asked questions relating to Barnstaple leasehold conveyancing

I would like to rent out my leasehold flat in Barnstaple. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

The lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Barnstaple do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.

Back In 2008, I bought a leasehold flat in Barnstaple. Conveyancing and Chelsea Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Barnstaple who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Barnstaple conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am employed by a reputable estate agent office in Barnstaple where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Barnstaple conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, 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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Barnstaple from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Barnstaple can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Barnstaple levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Barnstaple.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Barnstaple state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such works. If you dont have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor before hand.
  • Some Barnstaple leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is under 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • What are the common deficiencies that you see in leases for Barnstaple properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Barnstaple. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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 have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Coventry Building Society, and Aldermore all have express 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 grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    Barnstaple Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Queries before Purchasing

      Who manages the block? How is the lease structured? The prefered form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this situation the lessees enjoy control and notwithstanding that a managing agent is frequently employed where the building is larger than a house conversion, the managing agent retained by the leaseholders.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Barnstaple