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Top Five Questions relating to Billericay leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 68 years left on my lease in Billericay. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?

If 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 enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Billericay.

I’m about to sell my basement apartment in Billericay.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a quarterly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am employed by a long established estate agency in Billericay where we see a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Billericay conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as 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 buyer can avoid having to wait 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.

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 are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Billericay conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Billericay conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Billericay conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

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

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Billericay from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Billericay can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Billericay leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. Should you dont have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your lawyer in advance.
  • A minority of Billericay leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a new share certificate can be a lengthy process and delays many a Billericay home move. Where a duplicate share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • I inherited a split level flat in Billericay, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. How much will my lease extension cost? Comparable properties in Billericay with a long lease are worth £241,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 invoiced annually. The lease expires on 21st October 2077

    You have 55 years left to run the likely cost is going to range between £32,300 and £37,400 as well as costs.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Billericay