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Frequently asked questions relating to Hurworth leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years unexpired on my flat in Hurworth. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent should be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Hurworth.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Hurworth. Conveyancing and Accord Mortgages Ltd mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Hurworth who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Hurworth conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Hurworth. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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. However, 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).

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agent office in Hurworth where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Hurworth conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence 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 for a lease extension. 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.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Hurworth conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Hurworth conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Hurworth conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the costs for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Hurworth Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Queries before Purchasing

      Generally speaking the cost for major works are not included within maintenance charges, albeit that some managing agents in Hurworth ask tenants to contribute towards a sinking fund and this is used to offset against major works. How much is the service charge and ground rent on the flat? The prefered form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this situation the lessees have being in charge if their destiny and notwithstanding that a managing agent is often retained where it is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hurworth