Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Portland

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Top Five Questions relating to Portland leasehold conveyancing

Frank (my husband) and I may need to let out our Portland garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Portland conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Portland do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

I have just appointed agents to market my garden apartment in Portland.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is clear the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Portland which have approximately forty five years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease decreases and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is often a good idea to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Portland. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part 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).

Are there common defects that you witness in leases for Portland properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in Portland is not unique. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • Insurance obligations
  • 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

You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Leeds Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed 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 grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

Portland Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Queries Prior to buying

    You will want to find out as much as possible regarding the company managing the building as they will impact your use and enjoyment of the property. As the proprietor of a leasehold property you are frequently at the mercy of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to every day matters such as the cleanliness of the communal areas. Enquire of prospective neighbours what they think of their management. On a final note, investigate as to the dates that you are obliged pay the service charge to the managing agents and specifically what you get for your money. Best to be warned if redecorating or some other major work is anticipated that will be shared between the leasehold owners and may well materially increase the the service fees or result in a specific invoice. On the whole the outlay for major works tend not to be wrapped into the maintenance charges, although some managing agents in Portland ask leasehold owners to pay into a reserve fund created for the specific purpose of establishing a fund for major repairs or maintenance.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Portland