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Recently asked questions relating to Highcliffe leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Fifty years unexpired on my lease in Highcliffe. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. For most situations a specialist should be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Highcliffe.

I own a leasehold house in Highcliffe. Conveyancing and Halifax mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing solicitor in Highcliffe who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Highcliffe conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I work for a reputable estate agent office in Highcliffe where we see a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Highcliffe conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence 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 start 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 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 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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Highcliffe with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Highcliffe can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Highcliffe levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Highcliffe.
  • A minority of Highcliffe leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a new share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Highcliffe home move. Where a new share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

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

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Highcliffe. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You could encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, Chelsea Building Society, and Aldermore all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    I bought a 2 bed flat in Highcliffe, conveyancing formalities finalised in 2004. How much will my lease extension cost? Corresponding flats in Highcliffe with over 90 years remaining are worth £207,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 invoiced annually. The lease ceases on 21st October 2101

    You have 77 years left to run the likely cost is going to span between £10,500 and £12,000 plus professional fees.

    The suggested premium range 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 detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Highcliffe