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Common questions relating to Handforth leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Handforth. Before diving in I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Handforth - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Handforth. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Handforth are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Handforth in which case you should be looking for a Handforth conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of maisonettes in Handforth both have approximately 50 years remaining on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Handforth is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. For most buyers and lenders, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Handforth conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Handforth. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part 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).

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Handforth from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Handforth can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Handforth leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. Where you dont have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You will have to accept that you will have to pay 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 reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and slows down many a Handforth home move. Where a new share certificate is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) 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 double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is below 75 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I am the registered owner of a 2 bed flat in Handforth, conveyancing having been completed 2006. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Equivalent flats in Handforth with over 90 years remaining are worth £166,000. The ground rent is £65 charged once a year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2078

    With just 56 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension 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 renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure without more comprehensive due diligence. Do not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Handforth