Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Dorchester

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Frequently asked questions relating to Dorchester leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Sixty One years unexpired on my lease in Dorchester. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Dorchester.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to be perfect, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Dorchester. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Dorchester ?

Most houses in Dorchester are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Dorchester so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Dorchester conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Dorchester which have about fifty years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Dorchester is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. The majority of buyers and banks, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. 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 premises 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 Dorchester conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 any new 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've recently bought a leasehold house in Dorchester. 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 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 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Dorchester with the aim of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Dorchester can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Dorchester levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Dorchester.
  • Some Dorchester leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to 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 able to meet the yearly 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 solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and pay 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 clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a time consuming formality and delays many a Dorchester home move. If a new share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • Dorchester Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries Prior to buying

      The majority of Dorchester leasehold properties will be liable to pay a service charge for maintenance of the block set by the landlord. If you acquire the apartment you will have to pay this amount, usually periodically throughout the year. This may vary from two or three hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large communal areas. In all probability there will be a rentcharge for you to pay yearly, this is usually not a exorbitant figure, say around £25-£75 but you should to check as on occasion it could be many hundreds of pounds. How is the lease structured? How much is the service charge and ground rent on the flat?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Dorchester