Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Heathfield:

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Questions and Answers: Heathfield leasehold conveyancing

My partner and I may need to sub-let our Heathfield 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Heathfield conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Heathfield do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience dictates 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 consent.

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in Heathfield.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly service charge invoice – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay the service charge 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 management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Heathfield. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to 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. 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).

I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Heathfield where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Heathfield conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £450000 apartment in Heathfield in just under a week. The management company has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Heathfield?

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

  • Addressing conveyancing due diligence enquiries
  • Where consent is required before sale in Heathfield
  • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Heathfield leasehold property is £350. For Heathfield 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 required to supply answers.

I own a split level flat in Heathfield, conveyancing was carried out in 2005. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Equivalent flats in Heathfield with a long lease are worth £169,000. The ground rent is £60 per annum. The lease ceases on 21st October 2076

With just 56 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £27,600 and £31,800 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to provide a more accurate figure without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be additional issues that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward based on this information without first getting professional advice.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Heathfield