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Top Five Questions relating to Ripley leasehold conveyancing

I only have Seventy years left on my lease in Ripley. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Ripley.

I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Ripley.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Ripley. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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 be sure 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).

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Ripley conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Ripley conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Ripley conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • How many lease extensions have they conducted in Ripley in the last 12 months?

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

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Ripley can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Ripley state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. Should you fail to have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • A minority of Ripley leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain 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 service charge figures 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 purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider 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.

  • I invested in buying a split level flat in Ripley, conveyancing was carried out 2007. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Equivalent properties in Ripley with an extended lease are worth £180,000. The ground rent is £50 invoiced every year. The lease finishes on 21st October 2091

    You have 69 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to range between £12,400 and £14,200 as well as professional fees.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to advice on the actual costs without more detailed investigations. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Ripley