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Recently asked questions relating to March leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 62 years left on my lease in March. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering March.

I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in March. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in March ?

Most houses in March are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in March so you should seriously consider looking for a March conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should advise you fully on all the issues.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in March. Conveyancing and Nottingham Building Society mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing solicitor in March who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a March conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in March with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in March can be avoided where you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in March charge for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in March.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? March leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Where you fail to have the paperwork in place you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge 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 clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is under 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete the sale of our £450000 maisonette in March next Thursday . The landlords agents has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in March?

    March conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often involves the buyer’s solicitor sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries most will be content to assist. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions 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 is in excess of £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. In reality you have little option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.

    I purchased a ground floor flat in March, conveyancing formalities finalised 2004. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Equivalent properties in March with a long lease are worth £167,000. The ground rent is £60 invoiced every year. The lease ends on 21st October 2089

    You have 68 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £9,500 and £11,000 as well as professional fees.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be additional issues that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.

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    Lease Extensions in March