Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Duxford:

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Common questions relating to Duxford leasehold conveyancing

Frank (my husband) and I may need to let out our Duxford garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Duxford conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Your lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Duxford do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Duxford. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Duxford 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. We note that you are purchasing in Duxford so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Duxford conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer will advise you fully on all the issues.

I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Duxford both have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Duxford is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. The majority of buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property 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 Duxford 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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've recently bought a leasehold house in Duxford. 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. Strange as it may seem, 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 Duxford with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Duxford can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Duxford leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Should you fail to have the consents in place do not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • Some Duxford 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 put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 actual amount of the service charge 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 before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 better to present the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming formality and delays many a Duxford conveyancing deal. If a reissued share is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I acquired a split level flat in Duxford, conveyancing formalities finalised in 2006. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Similar properties in Duxford with over 90 years remaining are worth £230,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £65 invoiced annually. The lease finishes on 21st October 2084

    You have 64 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £19,000 and £22,000 plus 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 in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Duxford