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Recently asked questions relating to Flint leasehold conveyancing

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Flint basement flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We used a Flint conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Your lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Flint do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Flint. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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 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).

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agent office in Flint where we see a number of flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Flint conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as 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.

What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Flint conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

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

  • How many lease extensions has the firm completed in Flint in the last twenty four months?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Are there frequently found defects that you encounter in leases for Flint properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Flint is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Lloyds TSB Bank, Virgin Money, and Aldermore all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    I am the registered owner of a studio flat in Flint, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. 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? Comparable flats in Flint with an extended lease are worth £250,000. The ground rent is £60 invoiced every year. The lease finishes on 21st October 2080

    With 58 years left to run the likely cost is going to span between £25,700 and £29,600 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure without more comprehensive investigations. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be additional issues that need to be considered and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information without first getting professional advice.

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    Lease Extensions in Flint