Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Histon:

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Common questions relating to Histon leasehold conveyancing

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to sub-let our Histon ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Histon conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Histon do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Histon. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Histon are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Histon so you should seriously consider looking for a Histon conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your solicitor should appraise you on the various issues.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Histon. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Histon with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Histon can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Histon charge for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought 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 usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Histon.
  • Some Histon leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. 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 should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the annual 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 had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. 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 particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is less than 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.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £175000 apartment in Histon on Monday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £300 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Histon?

    Histon conveyancing on leasehold flats usually necessitates the buyer’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address these enquiries most will be willing to do so. They may levy a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it exceeds £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.

    Leasehold Conveyancing in Histon - Sample of Queries Prior to Purchasing

      Who are the managing agents? How many years remain on the lease? It would be prudent to discover as much as you can about the managing agents as they will impact your use and enjoyment of the property. As the owner of a leasehold property you are frequently in the clutches of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to day to day issues such as the tidiness of the common parts. Ask prospective neighbours what they think of their service. Finally, be sure you discover the dates that you are obliged pay the maintenance charge to the managing agents and precisely what it includes.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Histon