Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Shaftesbury:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Shaftesbury leasehold conveyancing

I only have Seventy years left on my lease in Shaftesbury. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, 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 enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent should be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Shaftesbury.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Shaftesbury. 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).

I work for a reputable estate agent office in Shaftesbury where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Shaftesbury conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is 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 before, 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 purchaser.

What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Shaftesbury conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Shaftesbury conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Shaftesbury conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension work?

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £475000 maisonette in Shaftesbury in just under a week. The management company has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Shaftesbury?

    Shaftesbury conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually involves fees being invoiced by freeholders :

    • Completing conveyancing due diligence questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Shaftesbury
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Shaftesbury leasehold property is £350. For Shaftesbury conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide answers.

    Shaftesbury Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to buying

      Who takes responsibility for maintaining and repairing the building? On the whole the cost for major works tend not to be incorporated into the maintenance charges, although some managing agents in Shaftesbury require leasehold owners to contribute towards a sinking fund and this is used to offset against larger repairs or maintenance. Are any of leasehold owners in arrears of their service charge payments?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Shaftesbury