Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Washwood Heath:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Washwood Heath leasehold conveyancing

Helen (my wife) and I may need to sub-let our Washwood Heath 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Washwood Heath conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your previous Washwood Heath conveyancing lawyer is not available you can review your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the property. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you are obliged to obtain permission via your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior permission. Such consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I only have 68 years unexpired on my lease in Washwood Heath. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What are my options?

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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. For most situations a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Washwood Heath.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Washwood Heath. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

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. It is an essential part 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 long established estate agency in Washwood Heath where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Washwood Heath conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Washwood Heath from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Washwood Heath can be reduced where you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Washwood Heath levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Washwood Heath.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Washwood Heath leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Where you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in the first instance.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Washwood Heath conveyancing deal. If a new share certificate is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is under 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Washwood Heath - Examples of Queries Prior to Purchasing

      It is important to be aware if redecorating or some other significant cost is pending that will be shared by the leaseholders and will materially increase the the service costs or necessitate a one time payment. Does the lease have in excess of 85 years left? Who are the managing agents?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Washwood Heath