Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Maidenhead

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Maidenhead leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My partner and I may need to rent out our Maidenhead 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Maidenhead conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your previous Maidenhead conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can review your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the property. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you need to obtain consent from your landlord or other appropriate person before subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior permission. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably withheld. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I am looking at a two apartments in Maidenhead which have in the region of fifty years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Maidenhead is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Maidenhead conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Maidenhead. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. It is an essential part 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).

I work for a busy estate agency in Maidenhead where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Maidenhead conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 purchaser.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Maidenhead with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Maidenhead can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Maidenhead charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Maidenhead.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Maidenhead state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. Where you fail to have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in advance.
  • A minority of Maidenhead leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and slows down many a Maidenhead conveyancing transaction. Where a duplicate share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • I inherited a garden flat in Maidenhead, conveyancing was carried out 5 years ago. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Similar properties in Maidenhead with a long lease are worth £229,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 levied per year. The lease expires on 21st October 2077

    With just 56 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to range between £31,400 and £36,200 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed due diligence. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Maidenhead