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Somersham leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Somersham. Before I set the wheels in motion I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Somersham - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I have just started marketing my basement apartment in Somersham.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is discharge 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Somersham with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Somersham can be reduced if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Somersham state that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such changes. Where you fail to have the approvals to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • A minority of Somersham leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, 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 able to meet 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • 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 purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £150000 garden flat in Somersham next Thursday . The freeholder has quoted £420 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Somersham?

    For most leasehold sales in Somersham conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing pre-exchange enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Somersham
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Somersham leasehold premises is £350. For Somersham 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 obliged to supply answers.

    What makes a Somersham lease problematic?

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

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Coventry Building Society, and Barclays Direct all have very detailed requirements 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 provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    I inherited a 1st floor flat in Somersham, conveyancing formalities finalised 9 years ago. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Corresponding properties in Somersham with an extended lease are worth £245,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 invoiced annually. The lease terminates on 21st October 2086

    With only 65 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £17,100 and £19,800 as well as costs.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of comprehensive due diligence. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward based on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Somersham