Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Manchester:

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Questions and Answers: Manchester leasehold conveyancing

I would like to rent out my leasehold flat in Manchester. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?

Even though your previous Manchester conveyancing lawyer is not available you can review your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you must seek permission via your landlord or other appropriate person before subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet in the absence of first obtaining consent. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably withheld. If the lease prohibits you from letting out the property you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.

I have recently realised that I have Seventy years remaining on my lease in Manchester. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, 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 granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent may be useful to try and locate and to produce a report to be used as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Manchester.

I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Manchester where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Manchester conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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 need not have to wait 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 extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Manchester from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Manchester can be avoided if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Manchester levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. 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 Manchester.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Manchester leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. Should you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • Some Manchester 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 put in hand bank and professional references. Any 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and 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 purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.

  • When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Manchester what are the most frequent lease defects?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Manchester is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain sections are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Chelsea Building Society, and Britannia all have express 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 provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    Manchester Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Queries before buying

      What is the service charge and ground rent on the flat? Please note if it is less than 80 years it will impact the salability of the apartment. It is worth checking with your bank that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. A short lease means that you will probably require a lease extension at some point and you need to have some idea of what this would cost. For most Manchesterlease extensions you will be required to have owned the premises for two years in order to be legally able to exercise a lease extension. What is the the remaining lease term?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Manchester