Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Ulverston

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Questions and Answers: Ulverston leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Ulverston. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Ulverston ?

Most houses in Ulverston are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Ulverston in which case you should be looking for a Ulverston conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer will appraise you on the various issues.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Ulverston. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Ulverston where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Ulverston conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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 proposed purchaser 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 at the same time as completion of the sale.

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 buyer.

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

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Ulverston conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with several firms including non Ulverston conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Ulverston who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Ulverston from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Ulverston can be bypassed where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Ulverston leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Where you dont have the paperwork in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • A minority of Ulverston leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and 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 are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a duplicate share certificate can be a time consuming process and slows down many a Ulverston conveyancing transaction. Where a new share is needed, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • I am the registered owner of a 2 bed flat in Ulverston, conveyancing having been completed in 2001. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Corresponding flats in Ulverston with over 90 years remaining are worth £194,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 invoiced every year. The lease finishes on 21st October 2089

    With just 69 years left to run we estimate the price of your lease extension to range between £13,300 and £15,400 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 cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of detailed investigations. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.

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    Lease Extensions in Ulverston