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Frequently asked questions relating to Hazlemere leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have 62 years left on my flat in Hazlemere. I now want to extend my lease 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 apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. For most situations a specialist may be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Hazlemere.

I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Hazlemere which have in the region of forty five years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease reduces and results in it becoming more expensive to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is generally wise to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Hazlemere where we see a few flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Hazlemere conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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 advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Hazlemere conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Hazlemere conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with several firms including non Hazlemere conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • How many lease extensions have they completed in Hazlemere in the last year?

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

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Hazlemere can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in Hazlemere charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Hazlemere.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Hazlemere leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Should you fail to have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • 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 purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Hazlemere home move. Where a reissued share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.

  • Hazlemere Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries before Purchasing

      What prohibitions exist in the Hazlemere Lease? You should want to find out as much as possible about the company managing the building as they will either make living at the property much easier or a lot more difficult. As the owner of a leasehold property you are frequently at the mercy of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to practical issues like the tidiness of the communal areas. Don't be shy to ask prospective neighbours if they are happy with their service. In conclusion, find out the dates that the service charges are due to the managing agents and precisely what you get for your money. The answer will be useful as a) areas could result in problems for the building as the communal areas may start to deteriorate if maintenance remain unpaid b) if the leaseholders have a dispute with the managing agents you will need to have all the details

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hazlemere