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Questions and Answers: Leigh leasehold conveyancing

I’m about to sell my ground floor flat in Leigh.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

It best that you clear the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Leigh. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Leigh are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Leigh so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Leigh conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.

I own a leasehold flat in Leigh. Conveyancing and Britannia mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in Leigh who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

First contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to incur the fees of a Leigh conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I work for a reputable estate agent office in Leigh where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Leigh conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as 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 wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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 agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Leigh conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Leigh conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Leigh conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • I purchased a basement flat in Leigh, conveyancing was carried out 9 years ago. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Corresponding properties in Leigh with over 90 years remaining are worth £209,000. The ground rent is £45 charged once a year. The lease finishes on 21st October 2071

    With just 50 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to span between £39,900 and £46,200 plus professional fees.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to supply the actual costs in the absence of detailed investigations. Do not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Leigh