Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Heath:

Any conveyancing practice can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Heath, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Questions and Answers: Heath leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years unexpired on my lease in Heath. 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 enable the lease to be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. For most situations an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Heath.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Heath. Am I liable to pay 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. A critical element 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).

I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Heath where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Heath conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease 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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 finding a Heath conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Heath conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you talk with several firms including non Heath conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Heath in the last 12 months?
  • What are the costs for lease extension work?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Heath from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Heath can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Heath state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Should you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Heath leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. 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 details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a Heath conveyancing deal. Where a new share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • I purchased a garden flat in Heath, conveyancing having been completed 4 years ago. How much will my lease extension cost? Equivalent flats in Heath with over 90 years remaining are worth £258,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 per annum. The lease finishes on 21st October 2076

    You have 54 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £28,500 and £33,000 as well as professional fees.

    The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other issues that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward based on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Heath