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Questions and Answers: Marlow leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years remaining on my flat in Marlow. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?

If 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 magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to locate the landlord. On the whole a specialist may be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Marlow.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Marlow. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Marlow are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Marlow so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Marlow conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the landlord’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Marlow where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Marlow conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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 buyer.

What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Marlow conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Marlow conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with several firms including non Marlow conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Marlow in the last twenty four months?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Marlow who can give a testimonial?

  • Are there frequently found defects that you encounter in leases for Marlow properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Marlow. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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. National Westminster Bank, Coventry Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have express conveyancing instructions 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 provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    Marlow Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Questions you should ask before buying

      For most Marlow leaseholds the outlay for major works tend not to be included within maintenance charges, albeit that a few managing agents in Marlow require tenants to contribute towards a reserve fund created for the specific intention of building a fund for major repairs or maintenance. The prefered form of lease structure is a share of the freehold. In this scenario the lessees enjoy control and even though a managing agent is often retained if the building is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent acts for the leaseholders themselves. It is important to be aware if changing the roof or some other significant cost is anticipated that will be shared by the leasehold owners and may well materially impact the level of the service fees or necessitate a specific payment.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Marlow