Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Bishop Auckland

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Questions and Answers: Bishop Auckland leasehold conveyancing

My partner and I may need to let out our Bishop Auckland 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Bishop Auckland conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will say if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Bishop Auckland do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.

I own a leasehold flat in Bishop Auckland. Conveyancing and Barnsley Building Society mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Bishop Auckland who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Bishop Auckland conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Bishop Auckland where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Bishop Auckland conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with 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 purchaser.

What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Bishop Auckland conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Bishop Auckland conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Bishop Auckland conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in Bishop Auckland in the last 12 months?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Bishop Auckland with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bishop Auckland can be reduced if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Bishop Auckland charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bishop Auckland.
  • A minority of Bishop Auckland leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Bishop Auckland - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to buying

      Are any of leasehold owners in arrears of their service charge liability? Does the lease include onerous restrictions? Please tell me if there are any major works in the planning that will likely increase the service charges?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Bishop Auckland