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Recently asked questions relating to Prestbury leasehold conveyancing

There are only 68 years remaining on my flat in Prestbury. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the lessor. For most situations a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Prestbury.

I own a leasehold flat in Prestbury. Conveyancing and National Westminster Bank 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 ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Prestbury who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Prestbury conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Prestbury both have about forty five years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Prestbury. The lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As a lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. It is often difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I work for a reputable estate agent office in Prestbury where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Prestbury conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

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 wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 Prestbury from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Prestbury can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Prestbury charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Prestbury.
  • A minority of Prestbury leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice 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 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 solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You may need to swallow your pride and pay 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 particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is below 75 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I acquired a 2 bed flat in Prestbury, conveyancing having been completed in 1996. Can you work out an approximate cost of a lease extension? Corresponding properties in Prestbury with an extended lease are worth £212,000. The ground rent is £45 invoiced annually. The lease ceases on 21st October 2097

    You have 75 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to range between £10,500 and £12,000 as well as professional fees.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed due diligence. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be additional concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action based on this information without first getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Prestbury