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Top Five Questions relating to Sipson leasehold conveyancing

I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Sipson.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a half-yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the service charge 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 until 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've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have just discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Sipson. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Sipson ?

Most houses in Sipson are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Sipson so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Sipson conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Sipson from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Sipson can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • Many freeholders or Management Companies in Sipson charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Sipson.
  • Some Sipson 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 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where a dispute is ongoing. 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is less than 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £375000 flat in Sipson next week. The landlords agents has quoted £420 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Sipson?

    Sipson conveyancing on leasehold flats more often than not involves the purchaser’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be content to do so. They may levy a reasonable charge for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it exceeds £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has no option but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to sell the property.

    Having spent years of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Sipson. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Sipson conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Sipson flat is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Sipson what are the most common lease problems?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Sipson is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • 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 problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Sipson