Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Houghton Regis

While any conveyancing practice can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Regis, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Houghton Regis leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My husband and I may need to let out our Houghton Regis garden flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Houghton Regis conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed 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?

Notwithstanding that your previous Houghton Regis conveyancing solicitor is not available you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the premises. The rule is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek consent from your landlord or other appropriate person prior to subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior permission. Such consent is not allowed to be unreasonably withheld. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I own a leasehold house in Houghton Regis. Conveyancing and Nationwide Building Society 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 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Regis who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Houghton Regis conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Houghton Regis. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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 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).

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Houghton Regis conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Houghton Regis conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Houghton Regis conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Houghton Regis who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Regis from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Regis can be avoided if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • A minority of Houghton Regis 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. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a new share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a Houghton Regis conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share certificate is needed, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I acquired a leasehold flat in Houghton Regis, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Equivalent properties in Houghton Regis with an extended lease are worth £214,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 levied per year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2092

    With just 72 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to be between £11,400 and £13,200 plus 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 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. Neither should you take any other action placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Houghton Regis