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Top Five Questions relating to Ferndown leasehold conveyancing

I only have Fifty years left on my lease in Ferndown. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent would be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Ferndown.

I work for a long established estate agent office in Ferndown where we see a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Ferndown conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension process 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. This means that the proposed purchaser 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 prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 buyer.

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

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

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • How many lease extensions have they carried out in Ferndown in the last 12 months?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Ferndown from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Ferndown can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Ferndown leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such changes. If you fail to have the paperwork to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where a dispute is ongoing. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 reveal the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Organising a new share certificate can be a time consuming formality and frustrates many a Ferndown home move. Where a new share is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is less than 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £500000 maisonette in Ferndown next Friday . The landlords agents has quoted £312 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Ferndown?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in Ferndown conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Answering conveyancing due diligence enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Ferndown
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Ferndown leasehold property is £350. For Ferndown conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to provide the information.

    Ferndown Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing

      Does the lease include onerous restrictions? Plenty Ferndown leasehold properties will have a service bill for maintenance of the building levied by the landlord. Where you acquire the apartment you will have to pay this liability, normally periodically throughout the year. This could be anything from a couple of hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for bigger purpose-built buildings. There will also be a ground rent to be met yearly, this is usually not a exorbitant amount, say about £25-£75 but you should to enquire it because sometimes it can be prohibitively expensive. It would be sensible to discover as much as possible concerning the company managing the block as they will either make living at the property much easier or problematic. Being a leasehold owner you will be in the clutches of the managing agents from a financial perspective and when it comes to practical matters like the upkeep of the communal areas. You should not be afraid to ask other tenants what they think of them. In conclusion, investigate as to the dates that you are obliged pay the maintenance charge to the managing agents and precisely how they are spending that money.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Ferndown