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Questions and Answers: Duffield leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Duffield. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Duffield are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Duffield in which case you should be shopping around for a Duffield conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I own a leasehold house in Duffield. Conveyancing and Bank of Ireland mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Duffield who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

First contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Duffield conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Duffield both have approximately forty five years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the value of the lease reduces and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you get professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this field

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Duffield. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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 be sure 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Duffield from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Duffield can be avoided where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Duffield leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you fail to have the paperwork in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer before hand.
  • A minority of Duffield leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is ongoing. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I own a 1st floor flat in Duffield, conveyancing formalities finalised 7 years ago. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Equivalent properties in Duffield with an extended lease are worth £219,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £65 invoiced every year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2083

    You have 61 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to be between £22,800 and £26,400 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to supply a more accurate figure without more detailed due diligence. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Duffield