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Questions and Answers: Whitehaven leasehold conveyancing

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Whitehaven 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Whitehaven conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Whitehaven do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Whitehaven both have in the region of forty five years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Whitehaven. The lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the value of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Whitehaven. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation 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 ensure 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Whitehaven with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Whitehaven can be avoided where you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Whitehaven leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such changes. Where you dont have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • A minority of Whitehaven leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Whitehaven home move. If a new share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £200000 garden flat in Whitehaven in just under a week. The management company has quoted £312 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Whitehaven?

    For most leasehold sales in Whitehaven conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing conveyancing due diligence questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Whitehaven
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Whitehaven leasehold property is £350. For Whitehaven 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 answers.

    Leasehold Conveyancing in Whitehaven - Examples of Questions you should ask before Purchasing

      What is the length of the lease? It is important to be aware whether fixing the lift or some other significant cost is pending to be shared between the tenants and will materially impact the level of the service fees or necessitate a specific payment. Make sure you investigate if there are any onerous prohibitions in the lease. By way of example it is fairly common in Whitehaven leases that pets are not permitted in certain buildings in Whitehaven. If you love the flatin Whitehaven but your dog can’t live with you then you will be faced difficult choice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Whitehaven