Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Leighton Buzzard:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Leighton Buzzard leasehold conveyancing

I only have Fifty years unexpired on my flat in Leighton Buzzard. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. On the whole a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Leighton Buzzard.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Leighton Buzzard. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Leighton Buzzard ?

The majority of houses in Leighton Buzzard 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 apparent that you are purchasing in Leighton Buzzard in which case you should be looking for a Leighton Buzzard conveyancing practitioner and check 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 entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I am looking at a couple of apartments in Leighton Buzzard both have in the region of fifty years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Leighton Buzzard is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the property. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Leighton Buzzard conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I am employed by a long established estate agency in Leighton Buzzard where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Leighton Buzzard conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Leighton Buzzard from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Leighton Buzzard can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Leighton Buzzard state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. If you dont have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer before hand.
  • Some Leighton Buzzard leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of 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 historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy process and delays many a Leighton Buzzard conveyancing deal. If a duplicate share is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • I acquired a basement flat in Leighton Buzzard, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Equivalent properties in Leighton Buzzard with over 90 years remaining are worth £195,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 charged once a year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2084

    You have 64 years left to run we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £19,000 and £22,000 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. Do not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Leighton Buzzard