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Questions and Answers: Toddington leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years remaining on my lease in Toddington. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application 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 magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to track down the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent may be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Toddington.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Toddington. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Toddington are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Toddington so you should seriously consider looking for a Toddington conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Toddington where we have experienced a number of flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Toddington conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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.

An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Toddington conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Toddington conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you speak with several firms including non Toddington conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How many lease extensions has the firm carried out in Toddington in the last twenty four months?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Toddington with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Toddington can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • Some Toddington 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. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. 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 buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Obtaining a duplicate share certificate can be a time consuming process and frustrates many a Toddington home move. If a new share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Toddington Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing

      Be sure to find out if there are any onerous restrictions in the lease. For example some leases prohibit pets being allowed in in a block in Toddington. If you love the flatin Toddington but your dog can’t live with you then you have a very difficult determination. It is important to be aware if a new roof is being installed or some other significant cost is anticipated to be shared amongst the leaseholders and may well dramatically impact the level of the maintenance fees or necessitate a specific payment. Can you tell me if there are any major works in the near future that could increase the service charges?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Toddington