Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Stilton:

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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Stilton

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Stilton 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Stilton conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your previous Stilton conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the property. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you must seek permission from your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without prior consent. Such consent must not not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord for their consent.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Stilton. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Stilton are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Stilton in which case you should be shopping around for a Stilton conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Stilton where we have experienced a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Stilton conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means 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 prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 buyer.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Stilton from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Stilton can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or Management Companies in Stilton levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Stilton.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Stilton leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. If you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer before hand.
  • Some Stilton leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice 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 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • 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 marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where a dispute is unresolved. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.

  • All being well we will complete our sale of a £400000 flat in Stilton in nine days. The managing agents has quoted £420 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Stilton?

    Stilton conveyancing on leasehold flats typically necessitates administration charges invoiced by management companies :

    • Completing pre-exchange questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Stilton
    • 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 Stilton leasehold premises is £350. For Stilton 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 supply answers.

    Leasehold Conveyancing in Stilton - A selection of Queries Prior to Purchasing

      Many Stilton leasehold properties will be liable to pay a service charge for the upkeep of the building set on behalf of the freeholder. If you purchase the property you will have to pay this contribution, usually periodically accross the year. This may differ from two or three hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for buildings with lifts and large common areas. There will also be a rentcharge for you to pay annual, ordinarily this is not a significant figure, say approximately £25-£75 but you need to enquire as on occasion it can be surprisingly expensive. You will want to find out as much as you can concerning the managing agents as they will impact your use and enjoyment of the property. As the owner of a leasehold property you will be at the mercy of the managing agents both financially and when it comes to daily issues like the tidiness of the common parts. Enquire of other people what they think of them. On a final note, find out the dates that you are obliged pay the service charge to the managing agents and precisely what it includes. You should be aware that where the lease has no more than 80 years it will impact the value of the property. It is worth checking with your bank that they are happy with the length of the lease. Leases with fewer than 80 years remaining means that you will almost definitely have to extend the lease sooner rather than later and you need to have some idea of how much this will be. For most Stiltonlease extensions you will need to own the residence for two years in order to be eligible to extend the lease.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Stilton