Quality lawyers for Leasehold Conveyancing in Northumberland Heath

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Frequently asked questions relating to Northumberland Heath leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Northumberland Heath. Before I get started I want to be sure as to the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Northumberland Heath - 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 only have Seventy years remaining on my flat in Northumberland Heath. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?

If 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to locate the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent should be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Northumberland Heath.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Northumberland Heath. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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).

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Northumberland Heath where we see a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Northumberland Heath conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 buyer.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Northumberland Heath from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Northumberland Heath can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Northumberland Heath leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Should you dont have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • A minority of Northumberland Heath leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle 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 buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is under 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I inherited a ground flat in Northumberland Heath. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount payable for a lease extension?

    Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a Northumberland Heath conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Northumberland Heath premises is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case affected 13 flats. The unexpired term was 76 years.