Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Billingham:

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Questions and Answers: Billingham leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to sub-let our Billingham ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Billingham conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Billingham do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Billingham. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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 employed by a long established estate agency in Billingham where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Billingham conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can instigate 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 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 to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

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 buyer.

What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Billingham conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

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

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What are the costs for lease extension work?

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £300000 maisonette in Billingham next Tuesday . The freeholder has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Billingham?

    For most leasehold sales in Billingham conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Answering pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Billingham
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Billingham leasehold property is £350. For Billingham 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 supply the information.

    Leasehold Conveyancing in Billingham - Sample of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing

      How long is the Lease? You will want to find out as much as you can concerning the company managing the building as they will either make living at the property much easier or a lot more difficult. Being a leasehold owner you are frequently at the mercy of the managing agents from a financial perspective and when it comes to day to day matters like the cleanliness of the common parts. Enquire of other tenants what they think of them. Finally, investigate as to the dates that you are obliged pay the service charge to the managing agents and precisely what it includes. In the main the outlay for major works are not included within service charges, albeit that there some managing agents in Billingham obliged tenants to contribute towards a sinking fund created for the specific intention of establishing a fund for major works.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Billingham