Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Witham:

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Recently asked questions relating to Witham leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Witham. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is registered - and most are in Witham - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Witham. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Witham ?

The majority of houses in Witham are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Witham so you should seriously consider looking for a Witham conveyancing solicitor and check 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 entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor should advise you fully on all the issues.

I am employed by a busy estate agency in Witham where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Witham conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Witham with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Witham can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Witham state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer before hand.
  • Some Witham leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. 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. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is less than 75 years. It is therefore important 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 property on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete the sale of our £475000 apartment in Witham next Friday . The management company has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Witham?

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

    • Answering pre-contract questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Witham
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Witham leasehold property is £350. For Witham 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.

    I inherited a studio flat in Witham, conveyancing having been completed half a dozen years ago. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Equivalent properties in Witham with over 90 years remaining are worth £260,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 charged once a year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2079

    With 58 years remaining on your lease we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £25,700 and £29,600 plus costs.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward based on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Witham