Leasehold Conveyancing in Manchester - Top tips for how to help your leasehold conveyancing

Groundwork for your Leasehold Conveyancing in Manchester

We strongly recommend that you appoint your leasehold conveyancers as soon as you put your property on market  and request that they start collating all the management information and other leasehold documentations for the sale of the property. Try to ensure that they do not charge you until such time as a purchaser is found.  

You do not have to appoint a local Conveyancing firm, but when it comes to leasehold Conveyancing in Manchester it makes sense to appoint a firm that has lawyers specialising leasehold properties. Leaseholds in Manchester are much the same as across the UK; that being said, finding a firm with experience in Manchester does have an advantage, as they may have a good relationship with many of the managing agents and landlords the area.

Manchester leasehold service charge information

Some management companies and landlords charge up to £300 for supplying management information for your leasehold property, but a lot of this can be obtained directly.   You can save yourself a considerable amount of money off your leasehold conveyancing in Manchester 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 Solicitor 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.   Often by obtaining this information directly, as opposed to the Solicitor asking for this information, the freeholder or managing agent may be less inclined to charge you such high fees.

Alterations to leasehold properties in Manchester

Have you carried out any alterations to your property which may have required the freeholder's consent? In particular, have you put down wood flooring at the property?  If so, 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 wood flooring or the alterations.   Obtaining this consent prior to finding a buyer will save a significant amount of time off the leasehold Conveyancing transaction. Be sure to seek the advice of a Conveyancing Solicitor first, before taking any action.

Consent to the sale of a leasehold flat

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.   You should ask the agents to make sure that the buyer obtains references from their bank, as well as a professional reference.   This will save delaying the leasehold Conveyancing down the line.   The reference from the bank should confirm that the buyer is able to meet the annual service charge.   Please make sure that the reference from the bank quotes the annual service charge.

Leasehold disputes

Our team for Conveyancing in Manchester 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.   You will have to pay off any arrears or resolve the dispute prior to the purchaser completing the purchase of the property, and you will have to reveal the dispute to the buyer in the Conveyancing process, but you can minimise the impact of this by confirming that the dispute has been successfully resolved.

Leasehold retentions for service charges

You may have to agree a retention of several hundred pounds.   Please note that in many cases service charge is collected in advance with the managing agents or landlord reserving the right under the terms of the lease to levy an excess service charge once the accounts are finalised.   Therefore, it is very common in leasehold Conveyancing in Manchester, and elsewhere in the UK, for the buyer’s property solicitors to insist on a retention pending finalisation of any service charge accounts.

This often becomes a last minute bone of contention between sellers and buyers.   In a market which currently favours buyers, it is not worth losing the sale over a retention.   Remember that by agreeing to a retention you, are not giving up the money - The money is simply held in an escrow account until 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, so that 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).

Conveyancing in Manchester - Short leases

If 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 for it prior to finding a purchaser.

Note that just because you have share of the freehold, that does not mean to say that you should not be concerned about having less than 60 years remaining on your lease.   A buyer’s lawyer and particularly their lender will not want to proceed on a leasehold property in Manchester where the lease has less than 60 years to run.   Many Manchester 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 Conveyancing file

If you have no intention of using your previous conveyancing solicitor in Manchester when it comes to selling your leasehold property, you should still consider asking them to retrieve your leasehold Conveyancing file out of storage.   This is because when you come to sell your property you may find that, even if you or your Lender hold the deeds, that these are not comprehensive and that some leasehold documents are left on your original file. Some Conveyancing Solicitors take over a week to obtain old files out of storage.   Most property solicitors do not charge you for taking a leasehold file out of storage, and hence there is no downside to making the request. Please make sure that you check the original Terms and Conditions which you signed to see whether or not they are entitled to levy a charge.

Leasehold properties in Manchester with a balcony

If your leasehold property has a balcony or roof terrace please speak to the conveyancer you wish to instruct for your Conveyancing in Manchester prior to finding a buyer as to whether or not the balcony or roof terrace is recognised as part of the lease or whether or not you have rights to use it.   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 should accelerate the Conveyancing transaction.

Live/Work property Conveyancing in Manchester

If you intend to sell a mixed residential/commercial unit in Manchester sometimes known as a live/work unit it is a good idea to ensure that you have planning documentation evidencing the percentage use of the commercial element of the property. This is likely to be the first question asked by a prospective purchaser or their property solicitor as may UK lenders have specific requirements for amount of commercial use . One tends to find that most lenders do not like to lend on a property where more than 30% of the space is allocated by the Planning Authority for commercial use. Take advice from your Manchester Conveyancing lawyer on this so your expectations can be managed.

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