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Top Five Questions relating to Lewes leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Lewes. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the number of years remaining on the lease.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Lewes - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details 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.

I want to let out my leasehold flat in Lewes. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?

The lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Lewes do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years unexpired on my lease in Lewes. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?

On the basis that 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court 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 vesting order request to the County Court covering Lewes.

I’m about to sell my 2 bed flat in Lewes.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is discharge the service charge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Lewes. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).

Lewes Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to buying

    Does the lease include onerous restrictions? Does this lease have more than 80 years remaining? The majority of Lewes leasehold flats will incur a service bill for maintenance of the building levied by the management company. If you purchase the flat you will have to pay this amount, usually in instalments accross the year. This can vary from two or three hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for large purpose-built buildings. In all likelihood there will be a rentcharge for you to pay yearly, this is usually not a large figure, say around £25-£75 but you should to check as on occasion it could be surprisingly expensive.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Lewes