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Questions and Answers: Leeswood leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years left on my flat in Leeswood. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. In some cases a specialist should be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Leeswood.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Leeswood. Conveyancing and Barclays Direct mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing solicitor in Leeswood 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 in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Leeswood conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I work for a busy estate agent office in Leeswood where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Leeswood conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate 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 can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, 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 purchaser.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Leeswood from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Leeswood can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Leeswood levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Leeswood.
  • A minority of Leeswood leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Organising a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming formality and frustrates many a Leeswood conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £175000 garden flat in Leeswood on Tuesday in a week. The management company has quoted £336 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Leeswood?

    Leeswood conveyancing on leasehold flats often requires the purchaser’s solicitor sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to these enquiries most will be willing to assist. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality you have little option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I purchased a basement flat in Leeswood, 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? Similar properties in Leeswood with a long lease are worth £213,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 invoiced every year. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2082

    You have 61 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £23,800 and £27,400 as well as legals.

    The figure that we have given is 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 are no doubt other issues that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward based on this information without first getting professional advice.

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    Lease Extensions in Leeswood