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Questions and Answers: Bournemouth leasehold conveyancing

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of maisonettes in Bournemouth which have approximately fifty years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is generally wise to extend the lease term. It is often difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Bournemouth. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. However, 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 be sure 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).

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Bournemouth conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Bournemouth conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Bournemouth conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

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

  • We expect to complete the disposal of our £400000 garden flat in Bournemouth in 8 days. The landlords agents has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Bournemouth?

    Bournemouth conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually requires the buyer’s solicitor sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer these enquiries most will be content to do so. They are entitled levy a reasonable charge for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it exceeds £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to sell the property.

    What are the frequently found deficiencies that you encounter in leases for Bournemouth properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Bournemouth is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, Skipton Building Society, and Barclays Direct all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

    Leasehold Conveyancing in Bournemouth - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing

      It would be sensible to find out as much as you can about the managing agents as they will affect your use and enjoyment of the property. Being a leasehold owner you will be in the clutches of the managing agents from a financial perspective and when it comes to day to day issues like the cleanliness of the communal areas. You should not be shy to ask other tenants what they think of them. Finally, investigate as to the dates that the maintenance charges are due to the relevant party and specifically what you get for your money. The prefered form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this situation the leaseholders have control and although a managing agent is frequently retained if it is larger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants. Does this lease have in excess of 85 years left?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Bournemouth