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

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Frequently asked questions relating to Birkenhead leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Birkenhead. Before diving in I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Birkenhead - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I would like to sublet my leasehold apartment in Birkenhead. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?

Some leases for properties in Birkenhead do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates 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.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Birkenhead. Conveyancing and HSBC Bank mortgage are in place. 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 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Birkenhead who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

First contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Birkenhead conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of apartments in Birkenhead which have about 50 years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Birkenhead is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. The majority of buyers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Birkenhead conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Birkenhead with the aim of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Birkenhead can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Birkenhead state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Should you dont have the paperwork to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Birkenhead leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 ahead of 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 clearly preferable to present the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Obtaining a new share certificate can be a time consuming formality and delays many a Birkenhead conveyancing transaction. If a duplicate share is necessary, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I own a 2 bed flat in Birkenhead, conveyancing formalities finalised in 1999. 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? Equivalent flats in Birkenhead with an extended lease are worth £173,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 charged once a year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2103

    With 79 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to be between £9,500 and £11,000 plus costs.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more comprehensive 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 clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Birkenhead