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Common questions relating to Henlow leasehold conveyancing

I wish to let out my leasehold flat in Henlow. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Notwithstanding that your last Henlow conveyancing lawyer is not available you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the property. The accepted inference is that if the lease is silent, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek permission via your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior consent. Such consent should not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Henlow. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Henlow are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Henlow so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Henlow conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer will appraise you on the various issues.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Henlow. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 work for a long established estate agency in Henlow where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Henlow conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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 before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Henlow from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Henlow can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Henlow levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Henlow.
  • A minority of Henlow leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Arranging a duplicate share certificate can be a time consuming formality and frustrates many a Henlow conveyancing transaction. If a duplicate share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I acquired a 1 bedroom flat in Henlow, conveyancing formalities finalised 2005. How much will my lease extension cost? Corresponding flats in Henlow with an extended lease are worth £265,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £55 yearly. The lease runs out on 21st October 2087

    With only 67 years left to run the likely cost is going to be between £10,500 and £12,000 as well as costs.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of detailed due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional issues that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action based on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Henlow