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I have recently realised that I have 72 years unexpired on my flat in Hamworthy. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What are my options?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to locate the lessor. On the whole a specialist would be useful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Hamworthy.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Hamworthy. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Hamworthy ?

Most houses in Hamworthy are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Hamworthy in which case you should be shopping around for a Hamworthy conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

Back In 2001, I bought a leasehold flat in Hamworthy. Conveyancing and Norwich and Peterborough Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing solicitor in Hamworthy who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

First contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Hamworthy conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

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

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Hamworthy can be reduced if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Hamworthy state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you dont have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride and 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Hamworthy home move. Where a duplicate share certificate is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is under 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • What are the common problems that you see in leases for Hamworthy properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Hamworthy. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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 primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

    I invested in buying a leasehold flat in Hamworthy, conveyancing having been completed 2005. How much will my lease extension cost? Comparable properties in Hamworthy with an extended lease are worth £230,000. The ground rent is £60 invoiced annually. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2091

    With just 69 years left to run the likely cost is going to be between £11,400 and £13,200 plus professional fees.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to advice on a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed investigations. Do not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt other issues that need to be considered and you obviously should 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 Hamworthy