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Recently asked questions relating to Lewes leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Lewes. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is registered - and most 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 would like to rent out my leasehold apartment in Lewes. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Some leases for properties in Lewes do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

I have just appointed agents to market my basement apartment in Lewes.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

It best that you pay 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Lewes. 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 owner 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).

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Lewes from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Lewes can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers lawyers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Lewes state that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. If you dont have the approvals to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor in the first instance.
  • A minority of Lewes leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check via your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I acquired a split level flat in Lewes, conveyancing having been completed in 2002. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Similar properties in Lewes with over 90 years remaining are worth £168,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 invoiced annually. The lease finishes on 21st October 2075

    With just 53 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £31,400 and £36,200 as well as legals.

    The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Lewes