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Questions and Answers: Dartmouth Park leasehold conveyancing

I am intending to sublet my leasehold apartment in Dartmouth Park. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

Even though your last Dartmouth Park conveyancing lawyer is no longer around you can check your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the premises. The rule is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you must seek consent from your landlord or some other party before subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior permission. Such consent must not not be unreasonably turned down. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.

I have recently realised that I have 62 years left on my lease in Dartmouth Park. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the freeholder. In some cases a specialist would be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Dartmouth Park.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Dartmouth Park. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Dartmouth Park ?

Most houses in Dartmouth Park are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Dartmouth Park in which case you should be looking for a Dartmouth Park conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.

I work for a long established estate agency in Dartmouth Park where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Dartmouth Park conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 buyer 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 before, 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 Dartmouth Park with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Dartmouth Park can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • Many freeholders or Management Companies in Dartmouth Park charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for 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 delay in leasehold conveyancing in Dartmouth Park.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a Dartmouth Park home move. Where a reissued share is necessary, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider 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 have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can I make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Dartmouth Park conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    if there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Dartmouth Park premises is Flat 2 27 Mackeson Road in December 2012. The Tribunal assessed the value of the lease extension premium at £35,435 and rounded the figure to £35,500 This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 64.77 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Dartmouth Park