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Recently asked questions about conveyancing in Forest of Dean

I have just started taking steps with the intention of changing my current residential home loan to a BTL Halifax mortgage. I was told by my financial advisor that I require a conveyancer as part of the process. I spoke to my former Forest of Dean conveyancing solicitor who acted on my behalf when I originally purchased the property. The fee calculation issued of £575 plus disbursements has taken me by surprise as I am not require purchase conveyancing - it’s just a bog-standard refinance.

The quote is fractionally on the expensive side. If you shop around you may be able to decrease the fees marginally by as much as £100 plus VAT. That being said, if you were satisfied with the assistance the firm offered you mightlive to regret opting for an a cheaper conveyancer. Don't forget to be sure that the solicitor can also act for Halifax. Do utilise our search tool to locate a Forest of Dean conveyancing firm on the Halifax member panel, which can often include conveyancing solicitors in Forest of Dean.

I am about to put a bid on a leasehold apartment in Forest of Dean. The selling agents assure me that it is standard for flats in Forest of Dean to have less than 75 years remaining. I am getting a loan with The Mortgage Works. Will the property be mortgageable given that the lease has Seventy One years left.

Most leasehold conveyancing experts should be able to deal with a lease extension. if you are getting a mortgage then your lender may insist that the lease be extended before competition. The Mortgage Works have specific requirements as set out in the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook in relation to minimum unexpired lease terms. As of 2/2/2023 the requirements read as follows :

Minimum unexpired lease term is 70 years with 30 years remaining at the end of the mortgage term.
Where the unexpired lease term is different to that recorded on the mortgage offer, the following clarifies if we need to be informed:

Second hand property:
- If the unexpired lease term on the offer is 85 years or more - only advise us if the actual lease term is less than 85 years
- if the unexpired lease term on the offer is less than 85 years – advise us if the actual lease term is different than reported
- For equity share applications - advise us if the actual lease term is different than reported on the offer

New build property:
- If the unexpired lease term stated on the offer is 125 years (flat) / 250 years (house) or more - only advise us if the actual lease term is less than 125 years (flat) / 250 years (house)
- For equity share applications - always advise us if the actual lease term is different than reported on the offer

Lease terms such as ground rent and event fees must be reasonable at all times during the term of the lease and adhere to our requirements below. If you’re unsure as to whether the terms of a lease are unreasonable or onerous, please refer the details to us in plain English for Valuer consideration. If the potentially onerous terms are in relation to the ground rent please include the current ground rent figure per annum, how often it will be reviewed and the price structure it will be reviewed against. See the guidance below.

SECOND HAND PROPERTIES

Unacceptable - advise Issuing Office (Will be declined):
- Unexpired lease term less than 70 years
- Less than 30 years remaining at the end of the mortgage term
- Ground Rent greater than 0.5% of the property value
- Ground Rent doubles less than every 20 years (e.g. doubles every 5, 10 or 15 years) - acceptable if doubles every 20 years or more
- Ground Rent is compounded RPI
- Ground Rent review period less than or equal to 5 years

Refer to Issuing Office (Valuer will consider any impact on valuation figure and marketability):
- Unexpired lease term is 70 to 85 years
- Ground Rent greater than 0.1% and less than or equal to 0.5% of the property value
- Ground Rent escalation is linked to any indices greater than RPI
- Ground Rent escalation is linked to the value of the building*
- Ground Rent review period is greater than 5 and less than 10 years
- Event clauses exist for normal use e.g. changing the carpet, installing a TV aerial etc
- Estate Rent Charges greater than £500 p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Service Charges greater than 0.5% of property value p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Anything that appears onerous, unusual or out of the ordinary

Acceptable (no requirement to advise Issuing Office):
- Unexpired lease term greater than 85 years
- Ground Rent less than or equal to 0.1% of the property value
- Ground Rent review period greater than or equal to 10 years
- Ground Rent escalation less than or equal to RPI

NEW BUILD PROPERTIES (includes office conversions)

Unacceptable - advise Issuing Office (will be declined):
- Unexpired lease term less than 125 years on a new build flat or less than 250 years on a new build house
- Any lease which is subject to a ground rent (or annual rent) being charged which is more than on a peppercorn basis
- Any lease which is subject to a ground rent (or annual rent) being reviewed and altered on any review basis or methodology

Refer to Issuing Office (Valuer will consider any impact on valuation figure and marketability):
- Event clauses exist for normal use e.g. changing the carpet, installing a TV aerial etc
- Estate Rent Charges greater than £500 p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Service Charges greater than 0.5% of property value p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Anything else appears onerous, unusual or out of the ordinary

Acceptable (no requirement to advise Issuing Office):
- Unexpired lease term greater than or equal to 125 years on a new build flat or greater than or equal to 250 years on a new build house
- A lease subject to a peppercorn ground rent (annual rent) charges

For the avoidance of doubt, any new build properties completed but not sold pre 30 June 2022 will only be acceptable if the lease conforms to the above guidance

* Where the Ground Rent escalation is linked to the value of the building, please provide the following:
- How is the value of the block/unit currently calculated and if the assessment relates to the block(s), how is the Ground Rent calculated/apportioned per property?
- The current valuation and Ground Rent for each unit
- What is the mechanism for future valuations of the block and how is the Ground Rent calculated/apportioned?
- What is the right of appeal? And is this a documented process within the lease?
- Who bears the cost of the valuation (and appeal) process?
- Confirmation the review period is not less than twenty years

LEASE EXTENSIONS

We require all lease extensions to be completed under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and to meet the above criteria as a minimum. Where you become aware that it does not meet these requirements, please refer to the Issuing Office

How does conveyancing in Forest of Dean differ for new build properties?

Most buyers of new build property in Forest of Dean approach us having been asked by the developer to sign contracts and commit to the purchase even before the house is built. This is because builders in Forest of Dean tend to buy the land, plan the estate and want to get the plots sold off as they are building the properties. Buyers, therefore, will have to exchange contracts without actually seeing the house they are buying. To reduce the chances of losing the property, buyers should instruct property lawyers as soon as the property is reserved and mortgage applications should be submitted quickly. Due to the fact that it could be several months and even years between exchange of contracts and completion, the mortgage offer may need to be extended. It would be wise to use a lawyer who specialises in new build conveyancing especially if they are used to new build conveyancing in Forest of Dean or who has acted in the same development.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my ground floor flat in Forest of Dean. Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon, however I have recently had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is discharge the invoice as you normally would because all ground rent and service charges should be apportioned on completion, so you should recover the relevant percentage by the purchaser for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date, so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I bought a 1st floor flat in Forest of Dean, conveyancing was carried out in 2009. Can you shed any light on how much the price could be for a 90 year extension to my lease? Equivalent flats in Forest of Dean with a long lease are worth £195,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 yearly. The lease expires on 21st October 2086

You have 63 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £16,200 and £18,600 plus legals.

The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to supply the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

My conveyancing in Forest of Dean is set to complete next Friday, however the vendors I am buying from wants to vacate on the Saturday midday. Do I accept this?

If you are having a mortgage then your solicitor will require that you have vacant possession on Friday - the lending institution will insist on it.

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