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Holywell leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I have recently realised that I have 68 years unexpired on my lease in Holywell. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?

On the basis that 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 mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. For most situations a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Holywell.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Holywell. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Holywell are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Holywell so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Holywell conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will advise you fully on all the issues.

I am attracted to a couple of flats in Holywell both have about 50 years left on the leases. should I be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Holywell is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Holywell conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Holywell where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Holywell conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer 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 has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 buyer.

If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £450000 garden flat in Holywell on Thursday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £396 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Holywell?

Holywell conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often necessitates the buyer’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to such questions the majority will be content to assist. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is above £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have no choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.

I purchased a studio flat in Holywell, conveyancing was carried out 1995. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Corresponding properties in Holywell with over 90 years remaining are worth £218,000. The ground rent is £50 invoiced annually. The lease terminates on 21st October 2092

With only 69 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to be between £13,300 and £15,400 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

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 investigations. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward based on this information without first getting professional advice.

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Lease Extensions in Holywell