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Recently asked questions about conveyancing in Newmarket

I own a freehold residence in Newmarket yet invoiced for rent, why is this and what is this?

It’s unusual for properties in Newmarket and has limited impact for conveyancing in Newmarket but some freehold properties in England (particularly common in North West England) pay an annual sum known as a Chief Rent or a Rentcharge to a third party who has no other legal interest in the land.

Rentcharge payments are usually between £2.00 and £5.00 per year. Rentcharges have existed for hundreds of years, but the Rent Charge Act 1977 barred the creation of new rentcharges post 1977.

Old rentcharges can now be redeemed by making a one off payment under the Act. Any rentcharges that are still in existence in 2037 is to be dispensed with completely.

The Newmarket conveyancing firm that just started acting on my house acquisition in Newmarket have suddenly shut down. They were on acting for me because I had to have a firm on the Leeds Building Society conveyancing panel and my family Newmarket lawyer was not. I sent them a cheque for £250 in advance. What do I do now?

If you have an estate agent involved then inform them straight away so that they advise the vendors that there may be a slight delay due to reasons beyond your control. Most sellers would be sympathetic and urge their lawyer to send a new set of papers to your new solicitors. You should appoint new lawyers that are on the Leeds Building Society conveyancing panel and notify the lender. If you have paid over any money, it will hopefully be held by the SRA as money in an intervened firm's bank accounts is transferred to the SRA. Then, the SRA or the intervention agent looks at the intervened firm's accounts to work out who the money belongs to. To claim your money you will need to contact the SRA. If the SRA cannot return money you are owed from the firm's bank accounts, or if they can only return part of the money, you can apply to the Compensation Fund for a grant. Your new solicitors may be able to assist.

Me and my brother purchased a 4 bedroom Edwardian property in Newmarket. Conveyancing lawyer acted for me and Skipton Building Society. I happened to do a free search for it on the Land Registry database and there are two entries: one for freehold, another for leasehold with the matching address. I thought I was buying a freehold how can I check?

You should read the Freehold register you have again and check the Charges Register for mention of a lease. The best way to be sure that you are also the registered owner of the leasehold and freehold title as well is to check (£3). It is not completely unheard of in Newmarket and other areas of the country and poses no real issues for owners other than when they remortgage they have to account for both freehold and leasehold interests when dealing with purchasers. You can also question the situation with the conveyancing lawyer who conducted the work.

I've recently found out that there is a flying freehold element on a house I put an offer in a fortnight ago in what was supposed to be a quick, no chain conveyancing. Newmarket is the location of the property. What do you suggest?

Flying freeholds in Newmarket are unusual but are more likely to exist in relation to terraced houses. Even where you use a solicitor outside Newmarket you must be sure that your lawyer goes through the deeds thoroughly. Your mortgage company may require your conveyancing solicitor to take out an indemnity policy. Some of the more diligent conveyancing solicitors in Newmarket may decide that this is not enough and that the deeds be re-written to give you the most up to date legal protection. If so, the next door neighbour also had to sign up to the revised deeds.It is possible that your lender will not accept the situation so the sooner you find out the better. You should also check with your insurance broker as to whether they will insure a flying freehold residence.

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Newmarket where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Newmarket conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the buyer.

Newmarket Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing

    What is the service charge and ground rent on the property? This question is useful as a) areas may result in problems in the block as the common areas may start to deteriorate where maintenance remain unpaid b) if the leasehold owners have a dispute with the managing agents you will want to know about it You should be aware if it is no more than eighty years it will affect the salability of the apartment. It is worth checking with your lender that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. A short lease means that you will most likely have to extend the lease at some point and you need to have some idea of how much this would cost. Remember, in most cases you would need to own the property for a couple of years before you are legally able to extend the lease.

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Find out more about how flying freehold can affect your the value of a property.