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Common questions relating to Topsham leasehold conveyancing

There are only 62 years left on my flat in Topsham. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. In some cases a specialist would be useful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Topsham.

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in Topsham.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a half-yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is pay the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Topsham. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Topsham ?

Most houses in Topsham are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Topsham in which case you should be shopping around for a Topsham conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the landlord’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Topsham both have in the region of fifty years left on the lease term. should I be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Topsham is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises 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 Topsham conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. 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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Topsham from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Topsham can be reduced if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Topsham charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. 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 Topsham.
  • A minority of Topsham leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 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 conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 prior to 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 reveal the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this by asking your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Topsham Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Questions you should consider Prior to buying

      Are any of leasehold owners in arrears of their service charge payments? On the whole the cost for major works tend not to be included within maintenance charges, albeit that there some managing agents in Topsham require tenants to pay into a reserve fund created for the specific intention of establishing a fund for major works. It is important to be aware whether fixing the lift or some other significant cost is due in the foreseeable future to be shared amongst the tenants and will dramatically impact the level of the maintenance fees or necessitate a specific invoice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Topsham