Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Preston:

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Recently asked questions relating to Preston leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years remaining on my lease in Preston. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application 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 magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. For most situations a specialist may be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Preston.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Preston. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Preston ?

The majority of houses in Preston are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Preston in which case you should be looking for a Preston conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor should report to you on the legal implications.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Preston. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before 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 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 Preston with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Preston can be avoided where 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.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Preston leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such changes. If you fail to have the approvals in place you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor in advance.
  • Some Preston leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. 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 clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a duplicate share certificate can be a time consuming formality and delays many a Preston conveyancing transaction. If a duplicate share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • After years of correspondence we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Preston. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Preston conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Preston premises is Ground Floor Flat 79 London Road in September 2012. the Tribunal held that the premium payable for the lease extension should be £7,636 This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 74 years.

    What are the frequently found defects that you come across in leases for Preston properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Preston. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain clauses are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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 problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Bank of Scotland, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions 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, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Preston