Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Stansted:

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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Stansted

My partner and I may need to rent out our Stansted ground floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Stansted conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

The lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Stansted do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the tenancy agreement.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years unexpired on my flat in Stansted. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder 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 lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent may be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Stansted.

I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Stansted both have in the region of fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Stansted is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the property. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Stansted conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I work for a long established estate agency in Stansted where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Stansted conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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 buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

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

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Stansted can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or Management Companies in Stansted levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Stansted.
  • A minority of Stansted leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You may have to bite the bullet 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 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 present the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I bought a garden flat in Stansted, conveyancing formalities finalised 2010. How much will my lease extension cost? Comparable flats in Stansted with an extended lease are worth £205,000. The ground rent is £60 invoiced annually. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2097

    You have 73 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to range between £11,400 and £13,200 as well as legals.

    The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to provide the actual costs without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be taken into account 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 Stansted