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Recently asked questions about conveyancing in Swanage

About to place a bid on a leasehold flat in Swanage. The property agents advise that it is normal for flats in Swanage to have less than 75 years left on the lease. I am getting a mortgage with Nationwide Building Society. Is this going to be a problem if the lease has 72 years remaining.

Most leasehold conveyancing experts should be able to deal with a lease extension. if you are securing a mortgage then your lender may insist that the lease be extended before competition. Nationwide Building Society have specific requirements as set out in the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook in relation to minimum unexpired lease terms. As of 24/1/2023 the requirements read as follows :

- Our minimum unexpired lease term is 55 years.
- There must be at least 30 years remaining at the end of the mortgage term (regardless of the length of lease at the start).

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 55 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 is 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 55 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 (does not apply to Shared Ownership)
- 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 charged which is more than on a peppercorn basis

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 Issuing Office.

I happen to be the sole recipient of my late grandmother’s will and I have everything in my name now, including the house in Swanage. Conveyancing formalities meant that the Land Registry date was in December. I want to move. I do know about the Mortgage Lenders 6 month 'rule', which means that my property ownership may be treated the same way as if I'd bought the house in December. Is the property unsalable for six months?

The CML handbook obliges conveyancers to: "report to us immediately if the owner or registered proprietor has been registered for less than six months." By the strict wording you may be caught by that. many mortgage companies would take a practical view as this clause primarily exists to capture subsales or the wholesaling and assigning of property.

Does a directory service exist listing RBS panel solicitors in Swanage on the Building Society Association’s Website?

Unfortunately not yet. There is no such tool on the CML or Building Society Association websites. Very few mortgage companies make their panel listings available on the web. If you are seeking to appoint a Swanage property lawyer on the RBS please use our facility.

Bank of Ireland have agreed my mortgage in principle, my bid on a property in Swanage has been agreed to, what are the next steps?

Your property agent will need to be advised as to your conveyancing practitioner's details (be sure the conveyancers are on the bank’s approved list). Telephone Bank of Ireland or your broker and finish off any appropriate forms. Bank of Ireland will instruct a valuer who will get in touch with the selling agent or owners to book an appointment. Once carried out (assuming no problems) it takes approximately ten days for the mortgage offer to be issued. Bank of Ireland will issue the offer to you and your lawyers. The legal work will then take it’s course according the nature and complexity of the conveyancing in Swanage.

Are there restrictive covenants that are commonly identified during conveyancing in Swanage?

Restrictive covenants can be picked up when reviewing land registry title as part of the legal transfer of property in Swanage. An 1874 stipulation that was seen was ‘The houses to be erected on the estate are each to be of a uniform elevation in accordance with the drawings to be prepared or approved by the vendor’s surveyor…’

As co-executor for the estate of my father I am selling a residence in Monmouth but live in Swanage. My lawyer (approximately 260 miles awayneeds me to sign a stat dec ahead of the transaction finalising. Could you suggest a conveyancing solicitor in Swanage to attest and place their company stamp on the document?

strictly speaking you should not need to have the documents attested by a conveyancing solicitor. Normally or notary public or qualified solicitor will do regardless of whether they are Swanage based

The conveyancers carrying out our conveyancing in Swanage has forwarded documents to review that show the land is unregistered with epitome documents. Surely all property in Swanage are registered?

Whilst the vast majorities of properties in Swanage are now registered with the Land Registry there are still a few that remain unregistered. Any property in Swanage that has been remortgaged since the late 1980’s will have been registered at the HM Land Registry under the compulsory ‘first registration’ scheme. However, if a Swanage property has not changed hands in that time then it’s likely the old fashioned title deeds will be the only evidence of ownership.Many Swanage conveyancing lawyers will be familiar with such matters but where uncertainty reigns the conventional proposition these days is for the vendor’s solicitor to register it first and then deal with the sale conveyance - this undoubtedly cause a prolonged conveyancing.

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