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Recently asked questions relating to Hurworth leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Hurworth. Before diving in I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is registered - and most are in Hurworth - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Hurworth. Conveyancing and Nationwide Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Hurworth who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Hurworth conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agent office in Hurworth where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Hurworth conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate 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. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have 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 at the same time as 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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Hurworth from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hurworth can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Hurworth state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Where you fail to have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor before hand.
  • A minority of Hurworth leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 lawyers.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a new share certificate is often a time consuming formality and delays many a Hurworth conveyancing deal. If a new share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore important 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.

  • What are the frequently found problems that you come across in leases for Hurworth properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Hurworth. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You may have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

    Hurworth Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing

      The best form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this scenario the lessees have control and even though a managing agent is frequently retained where it is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent employed by the leaseholders. Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge liability? It would be wise to enquire if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For instance it is fairly common in Hurworth leases that pets are not allowed in certain buildings in Hurworth. If you like the flatin Hurworth however your cat can’t make the move with you then you have a very hard determination.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hurworth