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Holmrook leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Frank (my husband) and I may need to sub-let our Holmrook basement flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Holmrook conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

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

Back In 2006, I bought a leasehold flat in Holmrook. Conveyancing and Lloyds TSB Bank mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing practitioner in Holmrook who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Holmrook conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Holmrook where we have experienced a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Holmrook conveyancing firms. Can you confirm 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 buyer can avoid having 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 simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Holmrook with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Holmrook can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Holmrook state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Where you fail to have the paperwork in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer before hand.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a Holmrook conveyancing transaction. Where a duplicate share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is under 75 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete the sale of our £225000 maisonette in Holmrook on Wednesday in a week. The managing agents has quoted £300 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Holmrook?

    Holmrook conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally requires the buyer’s lawyer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to such questions most will be content to do so. They may charge a reasonable charge for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it is above £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to complete the sale of your home.

    I invested in buying a garden flat in Holmrook, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Comparable properties in Holmrook with a long lease are worth £245,000. The ground rent is £45 charged once a year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2100

    With only 78 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £10,500 and £12,000 as well as legals.

    The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to advice on a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed due diligence. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional concerns that need to be considered and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action based on this information without first getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Holmrook