Top Leasehold Issues to Consider when Buying in Brighton

Fridaysmove recommend that you instruct a leasehold Conveyancing Solicitor in Brighton as soon as you begin to market your property, requesting that they start collating all the leasehold management documentation in anticipation of a sale of the property. Ensure that your Conveyancers do not charge you until such time as a buyer is located, however.

You do not have to appoint a local firm but when it comes to leasehold Conveyancing in Brighton, but it makes sense to appoint a firm with lawyers specialising in leaseholds and with property in the region.

Leasehold service charge information

Landlords and management companies in Brighton may charge hundreds of pounds for management information for your leasehold property, but a lot of this can be obtained directly. You can save yourself a considerable amount of money  by making sure that you have an up-to-date insurance schedule and policy relating to the building, up-to-date service charge accounts (you will need to have the last three years’ accounts available), details of any future works, details of any rules or regulations in place by the managing agent or freeholder, a clear ground rent and service charge receipt.   Speak to the conveyancing lawyers that will be representing you on the sale and ask them if they have a standard questionnaire that they would like you to arrange for the freeholder to complete.

Alterations to leasehold properties in Brighton – Legal Implications

Have you carried out any alterations to your leasehold property in Brighton which may have required the freeholder's consent? On the basis that you have a share of the freehold or you have a good relationship with the landlord and you are confident that the landlord or clear freeholders would not object to such works, you should obtain a letter from them consenting to the alterations.

Consent to the sale of a leasehold flat – a prerequisite for Conveyancing

You may recall having needed the freeholder's consent when you purchased your leasehold property.   If you know that the freeholder's consent to a sale is required please ensure that the agents are aware of this when you are close to accepting an offer from the purchaser.

Leasehold disputes

Our recommended Conveyancing Solicitors in Brighton suggest that you ensure that any disputes you have had with your current freeholder or managing agents are resolved before you market the property.   Many buyers and indeed buyers’ Conveyancing Solicitors become very nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute with the landlord or managing agent.

Leasehold retentions for service charges

It is very common for the buyer’s property solicitors to insist on a retention pending finalisation of any service charge accounts. In a market which currently favours buyers it is not worth losing the sale over this issue. Please remember that by agreeing to a retention you are not giving up the money. The money is simply held in an escrow account such time as the accounts are finalised. The solicitor should, following completion, chase the managing agents and landlord to enquire as to whether or not the accounts are finalised and once the accounts are finalised either part of the monies will be released to the buyer or it will be released back to you (depending on the provisions within the contract).

Short leases and Lease Extensions

Where you have a share in the freehold company please make sure that you find the original share certificate.   Obtaining duplicate share certificates can be a lengthy process  and delay the transaction.   If you need to obtain a duplicate certificate it makes sense to apply or it prior to you finding a purchaser as opposed to delaying the conveyancing transaction.

Please note that just because you have share of the freehold does not mean to say that you should be not concerned about having less than 60 years remaining on your lease.   Please note that a buyer’s lawyer and in particular any buyer’s mortgagee  ( Lender ) will not want to proceed to lend on a leasehold property in Brighton where the lease (please note your leasehold interest is where the significant value is on your property) has less than 60 years to run.   Many Brighton conveyancing lawyers are concerned with  leases with less than 75 years to run. The bank or building society and borrower will not be attaching a value to the freehold but rather the leasehold interest in your leasehold property.   It is therefore important that even if you own a share of the freehold the lease is extended to at least 80 years.   If you have a share of freehold it makes sense to extend the lease to 999 years as soon as possible.

Retrieving your leasehold file

When you come to sell your property you may find that, even if you or your Lender hold the deeds, that they are  not comprehensive and that some leasehold documents are left on your original file.   Some firms take over a week to obtain old Conveyancing files out of storage. Please make sure that you check the original Terms and Conditions that you signed to see whether or not they are entitled to levy a charge.

Leasehold properties in Brighton with a balcony

If your leasehold property has a balcony or roof terrace, please speak to the lawyer you wish to instruct for your Conveyancing in Brighton prior to finding a buyer, as to whether or not it is recognised as part of the lease or whether or not you have rights to use the balcony. If there are no such rights or if it does not belong to the property then you can at least discuss with your conveyancer the options available to you to either rectify the situation or to provide indemnity insurance.  

Having a solution in place ready made for your buyer will hopefully smooth the Brighton Conveyancing transaction once a purchaser is found.

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