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Frequently asked questions relating to Matlock leasehold conveyancing

Back In 2007, I bought a leasehold house in Matlock. 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. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing solicitor in Matlock who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Matlock conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Matlock where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Matlock conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as 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 proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as 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.

What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Matlock conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Matlock conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Matlock 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 of use:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Matlock with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Matlock 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 buyers representatives.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Matlock levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Matlock.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Matlock leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Should you fail to have the approvals to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Matlock leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, 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 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 any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £350000 flat in Matlock next week. The managing agents has quoted £372 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Matlock?

    Matlock conveyancing on leasehold apartments more often than not requires the buyer’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries the majority will be willing to assist. They are entitled invoice a reasonable administration fee for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.

    Matlock Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Queries before Purchasing

      In the main the outlay for major works tend not to be included within service charges, although there some managing agents in Matlock require leaseholders to contribute towards a sinking fund created for the specific intention of establishing a fund for larger repairs or maintenance. Its a good idea to discover as much as possible concerning the company managing the building as they will impact your use and enjoyment of the property. As the owner of a leasehold property you will be at the mercy of the managing agents from a financial perspective and when it comes to every day issues such as the cleanliness of the common parts. Don't be shy to ask other people if they are happy with them. Finally, investigate as to the dates that the maintenance fees are due to the relevant party and precisely what you get for your money. Be sure to discover if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For example some leases prohibit pets being allowed in certain buildings in Matlock. If you love the apartmentin Matlock but your cat is not allowed to make the move with you then you will be presented with a hard decision.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Matlock