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

Any conveyancing practice can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Clifton, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Questions and Answers: Clifton leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Clifton. Before diving in I require certainty as to the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Clifton - 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Clifton. 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 lessee 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. A critical element 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 work for a long established estate agent office in Clifton where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Clifton conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the vendor 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, 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 appointing a Clifton conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Clifton conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Clifton 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:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions have they conducted in Clifton in the last year?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Clifton from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Clifton can be avoided where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Clifton leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Where you dont have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • Some Clifton leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is under 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Clifton - A selection of Questions you should ask Prior to buying

      Does this lease have in excess of 85 years remaining? Does the lease include onerous restrictions? How much is the maintenance charge and ground rent on the apartment?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Clifton