Leasehold Conveyancing in Billingham - Get a Quote from the leasehold experts approved by your lender

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Questions and Answers: Billingham leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Billingham. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Billingham are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Billingham so you should seriously consider looking for a Billingham 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. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Billingham. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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 employed by a busy estate agency in Billingham where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Billingham conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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 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.

Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Billingham conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

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 conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Billingham 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 of use:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • How many lease extensions has the firm completed in Billingham in the last 12 months?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Billingham from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Billingham can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • Many freeholders or Management Companies in Billingham charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding 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 frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Billingham.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Billingham state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you dont have the approvals to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay 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 particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy process and slows down many a Billingham conveyancing deal. If a reissued share certificate is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • Billingham Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries Prior to Purchasing

      The answer will be important as a) areas can result in problems for the building as the communal areas may start to deteriorate where services are not paid for b) if the tenants have a dispute with the running of the building you will wish to have all the details What restrictions are contained in the Billingham Lease? Be sure to discover if the the lease includes any onerous restrictions in the lease. For instance plenty of leases prohibit pets being permitted in in a block in Billingham. If you like the apartmentin Billingham however your cat is not allowed to make the move with you then you will be presented with a difficult determination.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Billingham