Frequently asked questions relating to Christchurch leasehold conveyancing
I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Christchurch. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.
Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and 99.9% are in Christchurch - 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 today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Christchurch. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Christchurch ?
Most houses in Christchurch are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Christchurch so you should seriously consider looking for a Christchurch conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.
I am looking at a two apartments in Christchurch which have about fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are plenty of short leases in Christchurch. The lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more expensive to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area
I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Christchurch where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Christchurch conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to 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 for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.
What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Christchurch conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Christchurch conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Christchurch conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How many lease extensions has the firm conducted in Christchurch in the last 12 months?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Christchurch - Sample of Queries before buying
Make sure you investigate if there are any onerous prohibitions in the lease. For instance it is very common in Christchurch leases that pets are not permitted in certain buildings in Christchurch. If you love the apartmentin Christchurch yet your cat can’t move with you then you will be presented with a difficult determination.
Does the lease include onerous restrictions?
Its a good idea to discover as much as possible regarding the managing agents as they will affect your use and enjoyment of the property. Being a leasehold owner you are often at the mercy of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to day to day issues like the upkeep of the common parts. Ask other tenants what they think of them. In conclusion, investigate as to the dates that the maintenance fees are due to the relevant party and specifically how they are spending the funds.