Leasehold Conveyancing Solicitors

If you’re in the market for a new home, you may have seen the terms ‘freehold’ and leasehold’ mentioned on the property listings. These terms describe the ownership structure of the land on which a property sits.

Freehold ownership grants the buyer complete ownership of the property and the land on which it sits, with no lease agreements or time limits. However, leasehold ownership means the buyer owns the property for a period of time specified in a lease agreement. The land on which the property sits is owned by the freeholder.

A lease agreement typically outlines the duration of ownership, ground rent, service charges and other restrictions or obligations.

Leasehold properties are commonplace across South Yorkshire. Here at Pennine Law, our leasehold conveyancing solicitors are experts in the additional complexities of leasehold conveyancing. We’re also familiar with many of the managing agents who own the freeholds, so you can count on us to get you moving.

Leasehold conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of leasehold properties. A leasehold property could be a flat, an apartment and some houses. While buying a new home can be an exciting prospect, leasehold conveyancing can come with its own complexities and queries. For example, does leasehold conveyancing take longer? Or is leasehold conveyancing more expensive?

Here at Pennine Law, we try to be as transparent as possible, both with our costs and with our processes. Below, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions to explain the differences in leasehold conveyancing, and how our experts can help you.

How our leasehold conveyancing solicitors can help you

Our leasehold conveyancing solicitors understand that buying or selling your home can be stressful. We’re always on hand to help guide you through the process. We work quickly and efficiently and always update you as soon as there is an update on your case.

As well as advising on your leasehold conveyancing transaction, we can also advise on:

  • Lease agreements
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Auction sales and purchases
  • Leasehold licences
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Registration or correction of a title
  • Buying your freehold (freehold reversion)

Is leasehold conveyancing more expensive?

In short, yes… but let us explain.

There is certainly more work for us to do. First of all, we’ll need to identify the freeholder, their management company, headlessor and any management agents. The lease agreement or title checks may help us identify these, but in some cases, we may have to perform additional investigations.

What we need to do then is dependant on the requirements of the lease. For example, the lease may require that we contact the freeholder to notify them about a change of ownership. This notice will need to be receipted as a means of acknowledgement and to do this, the freeholder is likely to make a charge.

There is additional work to do after completion as well as reading leases, assignments from the deeds and asking additional questions and checking the replies. Solicitors would conduct these checks, to ensure that you comply with the lease and also that you do not inherit any issues from the seller. They will usually charge more for this additional work.

However, it is important to note that the work involved for a leasehold house will be less than that for a flat or an apartment. Where the property is a flat or apartment, there can be a complicated structure of titles and responsibilities to understand between the freeholder, management companies, headlessors and managing agents working for them. Until we see the lease agreement, it’s really difficult to say for definite what will be involved.

Why does leasehold conveyancing take longer?

As mentioned above there are more documents to check and ask questions about. The information will need to be obtained from third parties (a freeholder or a management company) who then sometimes employ managing agents to deal with these. Getting this information doesn’t usually come free, and the seller may need to pay for information packs which then need to be reviewed.

Leaseholds are an area of the law that has undergone scrutiny and change in recent years. Some of these changes have been substantial and important, leading to more information being required. These changes also mean that some leases require updating to ensure they meet the current requirements.

Are leasehold houses difficult to sell?

Not necessarily. There is an incorrect assumption that leasehold houses are not as valuable as freehold houses. There are longstanding legal protections for leasehold titles, which place leasehold properties on almost the same footing as a freehold.

The only real difference is that where a lease is running on the short side, an extension of the lease might be needed. Again, there is a protected legal procedure for this to happen; Even when the freeholder is not known and not interested in extending the lease.

It is important to point out that not all solicitors are comfortable dealing with leasehold houses. Historically, leasehold houses have only been found in parts of Yorkshire. It may seem like an alien notion if you have only ever known leasehold property to be a flat or an apartment.

Should you avoid leasehold property?

Absolutely not! As mentioned above there are legal protections that leasehold properties enjoy. There are ongoing discussions at various levels of government to further strengthen and simply these rights. By discounting leasehold properties, you would also be cutting out a large portion of properties that you may be interested in. The GOV.UK website suggests that 20% of property in England is leasehold, with this being a much higher percentage in South Yorkshire.

Get in touch with our leasehold conveyancing solicitors in Sheffield and Barnsley today

Get in touch with our expert leasehold conveyancing solicitors in Sheffield and Barnsley.

We have local offices across Sheffield in Penistone, Attercliffe, Gleadless and Hillsborough, plus offices in Barnsley town centre and Hoyland.

Give us a call at your nearest branch or fill in our online enquiry form and we’ll give you a call back as soon as possible.