Residential Property

Purchasing a Leasehold Property

I have made an offer on a Leasehold property and it has been accepted.  What do I need to do now?

You will need to appoint a Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer who will be able to talk you through the next steps and Laker Legal can help you with this. We will provide you with a fixed fee which will set out the legal fees of the firm, together with all the disbursements anticipated at that stage.

You should note that it is not always possible to anticipate all costs that may be required – additional costs can sometimes occur, such as indemnity insurance policies or if the matter is more complicated than originally anticipated. You will always be advised of these through out the case when we become aware of the additional fees.

You should also be aware that with the purchase of a leasehold property, there will usually be fees to pay to the Landlord and/or Management Company on completion such as Notice Fees.  As soon as we become aware of these additional costs, we will advise you further.

Once you have received your fixed fee and would like to proceed, you should confirm this to your Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer.  They will then issue you with the Client Care pack and the Terms of Business for the firm.  We will also require two forms of ID from you and a payment on account to cover any initial costs.

I’ve returned all the signed forms and my identification documents.  What happens next?

We will review this information and carry out electronic facial verification of your identity.  We will also ask you to make a payment on account to us (usually £250) to cover initial costs and disbursements (payments that we need to make to other parties).

Once you have returned your documents, we will write to the Seller’s Solicitors to confirm that we are instructed and to request the Contract pack.

Once this has been received, we will contact you to ensure that you are ready for us to order your Searches.

How long does it take to purchase a leasehold property?

With a Leasehold purchase, it is difficult to say how long the transaction will take.  It will usually depend on how quickly the Landlord and/or Management Company can provide information which relates to the leasehold element.

When enquiries are raised, it is likely that some of these enquiries will need to be directed to the Landlord/Management Company and again, timescales will very much depend on how quickly these third parties can provide the information to the Seller’s Solicitors.  In turn, it will also depend on how quickly the Seller’s Solicitors pass that information on to us.

There are also other elements such as how long your Searches take and there may be matters which we need to refer to your Mortgage Lender to ensure they are happy to proceed with the transaction.  This is because many Mortgage Lenders have strict requirements in relation to leasehold properties.

You can guarantee though that we will keep you updated of the progress of the purchase.

Are property enquiries different on a Leasehold Property and why are these needed?

Enquiries are a series of questions that we send to the Seller’s Solicitors once we have reviewed your Contract pack and your searches.  It is an opportunity to request missing documentation, corrections or amendments to the Contract (and any other documentation) and to query matters such as rights and covenants that may affect the property.

They are required because quite often, important information can be contained in missing documentation, which we need to inspect before we can proceed.  When purchasing a Leasehold property, the Lease usually sets out many covenants (such as not to alter the property without the Landlord’s consent) and we need to ensure that there have been no breaches of any of these.

The above is only a very limited example of what can be raised in the way of enquiries. The intention is to obtain as much information about the property’s legal title and the property itself so that we can prepare a full report on the property and the title to you and provide you with all the information that we have obtained.

What does “apportionments” of ground rent and service charge mean?

The ground rent and service charges are usually “apportioned“ on completion.  This means that as the Buyer, you will refund the Seller the ground rent and service charges from the day that you will become the owners of the property up to the end of the current period for the service charges and ground rent.

Will I be responsible for any issues with the service charge in the past?

We may advise you to request a retention if it appears that there have been service charge deficits in the past.  This is where we ask the Seller’s Solicitors to retain a sum of money from the sale proceeds in the event that there is a service charge deficit which relates to a period where the property was still in the Seller’s ownership.  This will need to be held until the service charge accounts for the current period have been finalised.

When the final service charge accounts for the current period are finalised (which can be some months after the end of the service charge period) and it transpires that a deficit has arisen which relates to a period in which you did not own the property, we can then contact the Seller’s Solicitors to request a payment from the retention held.

If we consider that a retention is required, we will advise you further in relation to this.

Why do I need to provide you with proof of funds?

As a law firm, we have to comply with strict anti-money laundering regulations.  We are required to check the source of funds for every client which is why we ask you to give us this information at the outset.  We ask you provide us with full bank statements and if monies have been moved around from one account to another, you will also need to provide us with statements for these accounts.

We constantly review the information provided to us by clients and it may be that you are asked to provide further information relating to your proof of funds as we prepare your purchase for exchange and completion.

I am in rented accommodation.  When should I give notice to my Landlord?

You should not give notice to your current Landlord without speaking to your Solicitor or Conveyancer first.

If you require time between exchange of contracts and completion, then you should let your Conveyancer know as soon as possible so that they can advise the Seller’s Solicitors.  You should only give notice to your Landlord once contracts have been exchanged.

Unless Contracts have been exchanged, completion dates can change (and sometimes at the last minute) for various reasons such as a party not being able to make arrangements for removals or because mortgage funds cannot be released in time for the completion date.

To start the process of purchasing a leasehold property please contact us or use our online calculator to provide you with a quote.

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