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Stretford leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am employed by a reputable estate agent office in Stretford where we see a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Stretford conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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. 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 has to be done before, or at the same time as 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.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Stretford conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Stretford conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you speak with several firms including non Stretford conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • How many lease extensions has the firm completed in Stretford in the last year?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Stretford who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Stretford with the aim of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Stretford can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in Stretford 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 can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Stretford.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Stretford leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such changes. Where you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is ongoing. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming formality and delays many a Stretford home move. If a reissued share is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £375000 maisonette in Stretford next week. The freeholder has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Stretford?

    Stretford conveyancing on leasehold flats typically results in administration charges invoiced by management companies :

    • Completing pre-exchange enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Stretford
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Stretford leasehold property is £350. For Stretford 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 provide the information.

    When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Stretford what are the most frequent lease problems?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Stretford is not unique. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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. National Westminster Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

    I inherited a split level flat in Stretford, conveyancing was carried out 2005. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Equivalent flats in Stretford with a long lease are worth £243,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 levied per year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2078

    You have 56 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £25,700 and £29,600 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to supply the actual costs in the absence of detailed due diligence. Do not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt additional issues that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Stretford