Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Penzance:

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Top Five Questions relating to Penzance leasehold conveyancing

My partner and I may need to let out our Penzance 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Penzance conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Even though your last Penzance conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can check your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the premises. The accepted inference is that if the lease is silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek consent from your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet in the absence of first obtaining consent. Such consent must not not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I've found a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Penzance. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Penzance 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. We note that you are buying in Penzance so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Penzance conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

I am employed by a reputable estate agent office in Penzance where we see a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Penzance conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the vendor 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 can avoid having to wait 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 simultaneously with 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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Penzance with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Penzance can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers representatives.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Penzance state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. If you dont have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in advance.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Obtaining a new share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Penzance home move. If a reissued share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • What makes a Penzance lease problematic?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Penzance. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are not included. 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
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Coventry Building Society, and Aldermore 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, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

    Leasehold Conveyancing in Penzance - A selection of Questions you should ask Prior to buying

      The majority of Penzance leasehold flats will be liable to pay a service bill for maintenance of the building set by the freeholder. Should you acquire the flat you will have to meet this liability, normally in instalments during the year. This could differ from two or three hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for bigger purpose-built buildings. In all likelihood there will be a rentcharge for you to pay annual, ordinarily this is not a significant figure, say around £50-£100 but you need to check it because on occasion it could be surprisingly expensive. The prefered form of lease structure is a share of the freehold. In this scenario the leaseholders benefit from being in charge if their destiny and notwithstanding that a managing agent is usually employed where the building is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent acts for the leaseholders themselves. Best to be warned whether window replacement or some other major work is due in the near future that will be shared amongst the leasehold owners and may well dramatically increase the the service fees or require a specific invoice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Penzance