Recently asked questions relating to Stansted leasehold conveyancing
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years unexpired on my flat in Stansted. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?
If 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist may 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 property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Stansted.
I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Stansted where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Stansted conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start 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 sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 offer any advice when it comes to finding a Stansted conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Stansted conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with several firms including non Stansted conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Stansted in the last year?
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Stansted from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Stansted can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers representatives.
- Some Stansted leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
Are there frequently found problems that you encounter in leases for Stansted properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Stansted is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. 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 problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Yorkshire Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, and Clydesdale all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Stansted - Sample of Questions you should consider before Purchasing
Best to be warned if window replacement or some other significant cost is due in the near future that will be shared amongst the leasehold owners and will materially impact the level of the service costs or necessitate a specific payment.
The best form of lease structure is a share of the freehold. In this situation the tenants have being in charge if their destiny and notwithstanding that a managing agent is often employed if it is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent employed by the leaseholders.
What prohibitions exist in the Stansted Lease?