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Common questions relating to Hartford leasehold conveyancing

Frank (my husband) and I may need to rent out our Hartford ground floor flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Hartford conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed 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?

Some leases for properties in Hartford do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

There are only 72 years left on my lease in Hartford. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What options are available to me?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to track down the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent may be helpful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Hartford.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Hartford which have about fifty years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

A lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the value of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Hartford with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hartford can be reduced if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Hartford leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. Where you dont have the paperwork to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer before hand.
  • Some Hartford leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is 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 home on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £375000 garden flat in Hartford next week. The managing agents has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Hartford?

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

    • Completing pre-exchange questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Hartford
    • Supplying insurance information
    • 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 Hartford leasehold premises is £350. For Hartford 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 supply answers.

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

      What restrictions are there in the Hartford Lease? Please note that where the lease has less than eighty years it will affect the value of the flat. It is worth checking with your lender that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. A short lease means that you will most likely require a lease extension at some point and it is worth discovering how much this would cost. Remember, in most cases you will need to own the property for a couple of years in order to be legally able to extend the lease. Plenty Hartford leasehold flats will incur a service bill for the upkeep of the building levied on behalf of the management company. Where you purchase the flat you will have to pay this charge, usually periodically throughout the year. This may differ from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for bigger purpose-built buildings. In all likelihood there will be a ground rent for you to pay yearly, ordinarily this is not a large amount, say about £50-£100 but you need to enquire as sometimes it could be surprisingly expensive.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hartford