Common questions relating to Hedon leasehold conveyancing
Harry (my fiance) and I may need to rent out our Hedon ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Hedon conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
A small minority of properties in Hedon do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review 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 consent.
I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Hedon. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Hedon ?
Most houses in Hedon are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Hedon so you should seriously consider looking for a Hedon conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should appraise you on the various issues.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Hedon which have in the region of fifty years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Hedon is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises 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 Hedon conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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.
I am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Hedon where we see a number of leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Hedon conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer 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 prior to, or simultaneously with 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 appointing a Hedon conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Hedon conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you talk with several firms including non Hedon conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
Leasehold Conveyancing in Hedon - A selection of Queries Prior to Purchasing
It is important to be aware whether window replacement or some other major work is due shortly that will be shared by the leasehold owners and may well materially impact the level of the maintenance fees or require a specific payment.
How is the lease structured?
Most Hedon leasehold apartments will incur a service charge for maintenance of the building set by the freeholder. Where you acquire the flat you will have to meet this contribution, normally in instalments during the year. This may vary from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large common grounds. In all probability there will be a rentcharge for you to pay annual, this is usually not a exorbitant sum, say approximately £50-£100 but you should to enquire it because occasionally it could be surprisingly expensive.