Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Handforth

While any conveyancing practice can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Handforth, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Common questions relating to Handforth leasehold conveyancing

I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Handforth.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is clear the invoice 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Handforth. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Handforth are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Handforth so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Handforth conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Handforth. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, 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 am employed by a busy estate agent office in Handforth where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Handforth conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 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 has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

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.

What makes a Handforth lease unmortgageable?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Handforth. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
  • Insurance obligations
  • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
  • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

You could encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. HSBC Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed conveyancing instructions 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 grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

Leasehold Conveyancing in Handforth - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing

    For most Handforth leaseholds the outlay for major works are not incorporated into the service charges, albeit that some managing agents in Handforth ask leaseholders to pay into a reserve fund created for the specific intention of building a fund for major repairs or maintenance. The best form of lease structure is a share of the freehold. In this arrangement the lessees have being in charge if their destiny and even though a managing agent is often employed if the building is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent acts for the leaseholders themselves. Is the freehold reversion owned collectively by the leaseholders?

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Handforth