Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Darwen:

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Darwen leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Darwen. Before diving in I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and 99.9% are in Darwen - 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.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years remaining on my flat in Darwen. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Darwen.

I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Darwen both have in the region of forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Darwen is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. For most buyers and banks, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. 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 property 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 Darwen conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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.

I am employed by a long established estate agency in Darwen where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Darwen conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can instigate 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 proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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 buyer.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Darwen from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Darwen can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Darwen state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • Some Darwen leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • 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 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 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 present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Darwen - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing

      For many Darwen leaseholds the outlay for major works are not incorporated into the maintenance charges, although some managing agents in Darwen obliged leasehold owners to contribute towards a reserve fund and this is used to offset against major works. This question is important as a) areas could cause problems in the block as the communal areas may start to deteriorate if maintenance remain unpaid b) if the leaseholders have an issue with the managing agents you will want to know about it The prefered form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this situation the lessees enjoy being in charge if their destiny and notwithstanding that a managing agent is often employed if it is larger than a house conversion, the managing agent employed by the leaseholders.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Darwen