Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Plymouth:

Any conveyancing practice can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Plymouth, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Sample questions relating to Plymouth leasehold conveyancing

I would like to rent out my leasehold flat in Plymouth. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

The lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Plymouth do not contain subletting altogether – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Plymouth. Conveyancing and Coventry Building Society mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Plymouth who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to incur the fees of a Plymouth conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Plymouth where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Plymouth conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 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 disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is 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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Plymouth from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Plymouth can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Plymouth state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you fail to have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in advance.
  • A minority of Plymouth leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Plymouth conveyancing deal. If a duplicate share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.

  • What are the frequently found defects that you encounter in leases for Plymouth properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Plymouth is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Bank of Scotland, and TSB 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 provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

    Plymouth Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Queries before buying

      Is anyone aware of any major works in the near future that will likely increase the service charges? You should be aware if it is fewer than 80 years it will have adverse implications on the marketability of the apartment. Check with your mortgage company that they are content with remaining years on the lease. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will probably require a lease extension sooner rather than later and it is worth finding out how much this will be. Remember, in most cases you would be required to have owned the premises for a couple of years in order to be eligible to carry out a lease extension. Its a good idea to find out as much as possible about the company managing the building as they can either make your life much easier or uncomfortable. As the proprietor of a leasehold property you are frequently at the mercy of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to practical issues like the tidiness of the communal areas. Don't be afraid to ask prospective neighbours if they are happy with their service. Finally, investigate as to the dates that the maintenance charges are due to the managing agents and precisely how they are spending the funds.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Plymouth