Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Ditchling:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Ditchling leasehold conveyancing

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Ditchling. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Ditchling ?

Most houses in Ditchling are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Ditchling in which case you should be shopping around for a Ditchling conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

Back In 2005, I bought a leasehold house in Ditchling. Conveyancing and Godiva Mortgages Ltd mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in Ditchling who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Ditchling conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Ditchling. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. 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 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 am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Ditchling where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Ditchling conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that 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 to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the disposal of our £125000 maisonette in Ditchling in just under a week. The management company has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Ditchling?

For the majority of leasehold sales in Ditchling conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

  • Addressing conveyancing due diligence questions
  • Where consent is required before sale in Ditchling
  • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Ditchling leasehold premises is £350. For Ditchling conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to provide the information.

Ditchling Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Queries before buying

    Is there a share of the freehold? The majority of Ditchling leasehold properties will have a service bill for maintenance of the building set on behalf of the freeholder. Should you purchase the flat you will have to meet this charge, normally periodically accross the year. This could vary from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for large purpose-built buildings. In all likelihood there will be a ground rent to be met yearly, normally this is not a large amount, say approximately £50-£100 but you need to enquire it because on occasion it could be many hundreds of pounds. What is the name of the managing agents?

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Ditchling