When conducting Conveyancing in Newcastle upon Tyne it is not uncommon to come across houses which are held on leasehold titles. That was the situation which Conveyancing Solicitor Catherine Williams encountered on the sale of a home on Helmsley Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 in 2010.
Whereas flats and apartments are generally owned with leasehold title, houses in England usually have freehold title. However it was not uncommon in the past, especially in Newcastle upon Tyne and some other areas in the North-east, for leases to be granted when houses were sold.
There was no right to renew, so many home owners faced being thrown out of their property when leases which had been granted in the nineteenth century were due to expire. To prevent this happening the government passed legislation giving leaseholders of houses the right to 'enfranchise' i.e. to buy the freehold.
Catherine had been instructed to carry out the Conveyancing in Newcastle upon Tyne by the seller, and had downloaded a copy of the registered title from the land registry web-site. She also downloaded a copy of the lease held by the registry. It transpired that the this was for a term of 999 years, and reserved a small ground rent.
The sale was negotiated by Mansons Property Consultants of 5 Holly Avenue West, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 2AR and David Warden & Co of 5-9, Spout Lane, Washington, Tyne and Wear NE38 7HN were the Conveyancing Solicitors instructed to carry out the Conveyancing in Newcastle upon Tyne for the buyers.
Buying the freehold is not always worth the expense.
Many leaseholders have elected to purchase the freehold, but when the term is for a very long period, such as 999 years, it may not be worth the expense. The seller had received a letter from the freeholders offering to sell, but in addition to the price they wanted they expected their legal costs to be paid. This meant that the total cost would be excessive and as it would not have added significantly to the value of the property the client had not bothered.
The buyers were quite willing to proceed on the basis of the existing title, and their Conveyancers explained their statutory rights to them. Catherine quickly arranged completion of the sale, enabling her client to move to another home which he was buying.
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