Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Maryland:

While any conveyancing solicitor can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Maryland, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Maryland leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Maryland. 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 registered - and 99.9% are in Maryland - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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 am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Maryland. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Maryland are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Maryland in which case you should be shopping around for a Maryland conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Maryland. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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. 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Maryland from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Maryland can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Maryland levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Maryland.
  • A minority of Maryland leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay 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 are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage 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.

  • All being well we will complete our sale of a £275000 maisonette in Maryland in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £300 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Maryland?

    Maryland conveyancing on leasehold apartments often involves the buyer’s solicitor sending enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries most will be content to do so. They are at liberty charge a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it is above £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to sell the property.

    I own a basement flat in Maryland. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for the purchase of the freehold?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Maryland conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Maryland property is 151A Ham Park Road in May 2010. The matter came before the Tribunal by way of a vesting order made on 12 June 2009 Deputy District Judge Coonan in Bow County Court. The tribunal decided that the sum payable for the m to be paid for the lease extension was £21,445 This case affected 1 flat.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Maryland