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Questions and Answers: March leasehold conveyancing

Planning to complete next month on a basement flat in March. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they report fully tomorrow. What should I be looking out for?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in March should include some of the following:

  • You should receive a copy of the lease
  • Will you be prohibited or prevented from having pets in the property?
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your premises and do you know what it means in practice?
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames
  • What you can do if a neighbour breach a clause of their lease? For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in March please ask your solicitor in ahead of your conveyancing in March

  • I have just started marketing my 2 bed apartment in March.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

    Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the invoice 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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.

    Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in March with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in March can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in March charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in March.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? March leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Where you fail to have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in advance.
  • A minority of March leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to 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 financially capable of paying 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being 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 completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.

  • Completion in due on our sale of a £350000 garden flat in March in 10 days. The landlords agents has quoted £360 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in March?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in March conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in March
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for March leasehold property is £350. For March conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide the information.

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

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in March. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain sections are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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

    You could have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Leeds Building Society, and Platform Home Loans 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 does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    I am the registered owner of a 1 bedroom flat in March, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. Can you work out an approximate cost of a lease extension? Similar properties in March with an extended lease are worth £172,000. The ground rent is £65 charged once a year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2075

    With just 53 years left to run we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £30,400 and £35,200 as well as professional fees.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to advice on the actual costs in the absence of detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be considered and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in March