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Top Five Questions relating to Helston leasehold conveyancing

Jane (my partner) and I may need to sub-let our Helston garden flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Helston conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Helston do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review 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 permission.

I work for a busy estate agency in Helston where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Helston conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor 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 commence 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 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 are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Helston conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Helston conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with several firms including non Helston conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Helston who can give a testimonial?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Helston with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Helston can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Helston levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Helston.
  • A minority of Helston leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Helston home move. If a new share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • What are the common defects that you encounter in leases for Helston properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Helston. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You may have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    I own a 1st floor flat in Helston, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Comparable properties in Helston with an extended lease are worth £205,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £55 yearly. The lease terminates on 21st October 2087

    You have 66 years remaining on your lease we estimate the price of your lease extension to range between £13,300 and £15,400 as well as legals.

    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 without more detailed due diligence. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be considered and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Helston