Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Fairwater:

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Top Five Questions relating to Fairwater leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Fairwater. Before I get started I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Fairwater - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Fairwater. 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. A critical element 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).

I work for a long established estate agent office in Fairwater where we see a number of flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Fairwater conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can initiate 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 buyer 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 has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 purchaser.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Fairwater conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Fairwater conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Fairwater conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • How many lease extensions have they completed in Fairwater in the last year?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Fairwater from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Fairwater can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Fairwater charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for 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 cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Fairwater.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Fairwater leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Should you dont have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in advance.
  • A minority of Fairwater 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 put in hand bank and professional references. The 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.

  • I am the registered owner of a 1 bedroom flat in Fairwater, conveyancing was carried out in 1996. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Corresponding properties in Fairwater with a long lease are worth £193,000. The ground rent is £60 per annum. The lease expires on 21st October 2082

    You have 59 years unexpired the likely cost is going to be between £23,800 and £27,400 plus costs.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to advice on a more accurate figure without more detailed due diligence. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward based on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Fairwater