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Questions and Answers: Falmouth leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement apartment in Falmouth.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

It best that you clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I own a leasehold flat in Falmouth. Conveyancing and Godiva Mortgages Ltd mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Falmouth who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Falmouth conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of apartments in Falmouth which have about forty five years remaining on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As a lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is advisable to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this field

I work for a busy estate agent office in Falmouth where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Falmouth conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have 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 before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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.

What makes a Falmouth lease defective?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Falmouth. All leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
  • Insurance obligations
  • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Lloyds TSB Bank, Leeds Building Society, and Clydesdale all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

I own a 2 bed flat in Falmouth, conveyancing was carried out 1999. How much will my lease extension cost? Comparable properties in Falmouth with over 90 years remaining are worth £268,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 per annum. The lease finishes on 21st October 2084

With only 62 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to range between £23,800 and £27,400 plus legals.

The suggested premium range 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 the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you want to 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 Falmouth