Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Helsby

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Helsby leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I have recently realised that I have Sixty One years left on my lease in Helsby. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. In some cases a specialist should be useful to try and locate and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Helsby.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Helsby which have in the region of 50 years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Helsby is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the value of the premises. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 property 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 property 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 Helsby conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. 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 employed by a reputable estate agent office in Helsby where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Helsby conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can instigate 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 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.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 Helsby conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Helsby conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Helsby 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 helpful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Helsby who can give a testimonial?

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

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Helsby can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Helsby state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. Where you fail to have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Obtaining a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Helsby home move. Where a new share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Helsby - Examples of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing

      How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their maintenance charge payments? How is the lease structured? It is important to be aware whether redecorating or some other significant cost is pending to be shared amongst the tenants and may well materially impact the level of the maintenance fees or require a specific payment.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Helsby