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Questions and Answers: Lewes leasehold conveyancing

Planning to exchange soon on a leasehold property in Lewes. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they report fully next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Lewes should include some of the following:

  • The unexpired lease term You should be advised as what happens when the lease ends, and informed of the importance of the 80 year mark
  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, freeholder
  • Setting out your legal entitlements in respect of common areas in the block.For example, does the lease include a right of way over an accessway or staircase?
  • Will you be prohibited or prevented from having pets in the property?
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this is subject to change
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a reserve fund?
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Lewes please ask your lawyer in ahead of your conveyancing in Lewes

  • I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Lewes.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

    The sensible thing to do is discharge 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 management companies 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 am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Lewes both have approximately forty five years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

    A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the value of the lease reduces and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

    Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Lewes with the aim of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Lewes can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • The majority landlords or managing agents in Lewes levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Lewes.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Lewes state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. If you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • Some Lewes leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is less than 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • What are the frequently found defects that you witness in leases for Lewes properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Lewes. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, Barnsley Building Society, and Bank of Ireland all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

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

      It would be prudent to enquire if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. By way of example some leases prohibit pets being permitted in in a block in Lewes. If you like the flatin Lewes however your cat can’t move with you then you have a very difficult choice. You should be aware if it is no more than 80 years it will affect the salability of the property. Check with your lender that they are content with residual term of the lease. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will almost definitely require a lease extension at some point and it is worth finding out how much this will be. Remember, in most cases you will need to own the residence for two years in order to be eligible to exercise a lease extension. Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge liability?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Lewes