Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Regis:

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Top Five Questions relating to Houghton Regis leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Houghton Regis. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Houghton Regis ?

Most houses in Houghton Regis are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Houghton Regis in which case you should be shopping around for a Houghton Regis conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will appraise you on the various issues.

I own a leasehold house in Houghton Regis. Conveyancing and National Westminster Bank mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Houghton Regis who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

First contact the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact 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 less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Houghton Regis. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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. A critical element 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 finding a Houghton Regis conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (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 work. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Houghton Regis conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in Houghton Regis in the last year?
  • 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 saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Regis can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in Houghton Regis charge for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Regis.
  • Some Houghton Regis leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is ongoing. 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and frustrates many a Houghton Regis home move. Where a new share is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Houghton Regis - Sample of Queries before buying

      Is the freehold reversion owned jointly by the leaseholders? In the main the cost for major works are not built into the service charges, albeit that there some managing agents in Houghton Regis require tenants to pay into a sinking fund and this is used to offset against major works. Is anyone aware of any major works on the horizon that will likely increase the maintenance charges?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Houghton Regis