Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Newton Aycliffe:

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Common questions relating to Newton Aycliffe leasehold conveyancing

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Newton Aycliffe. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Newton Aycliffe ?

The majority of houses in Newton Aycliffe are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Newton Aycliffe in which case you should be shopping around for a Newton Aycliffe conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Newton Aycliffe. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Newton Aycliffe where we see a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Newton Aycliffe conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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 can avoid having 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 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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Newton Aycliffe with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Newton Aycliffe can be avoided where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Newton Aycliffe leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. If you dont have the consents in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • A minority of Newton Aycliffe leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the yearly 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 landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to 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 rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • What are the frequently found defects that you come across in leases for Newton Aycliffe properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Newton Aycliffe. All leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts 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 will encounter 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, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements 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 grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

    I own a split level flat in Newton Aycliffe, conveyancing having been completed 2006. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Corresponding flats in Newton Aycliffe with an extended lease are worth £186,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 charged once a year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2080

    You have 59 years left to run we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £20,000 and £23,000 plus professional fees.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to advice on the actual costs in the absence of detailed due diligence. Do not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Newton Aycliffe