Find leasehold solicitors for this specific field of law.
If you own or are buying a property with a leasehold, solicitors are a vital part of the process. Not only of conveyancing during purchase, but also to make sure your interests are adequately represented throughout the time you live in your leasehold home.
Whether it’s understanding the recent changes to ground rent charges or buying a leasehold property, here is everything you need to know about how leasehold solicitors can help you:
What Is The Difference Between Leasehold And Freehold Property?
If you own a freehold property, you own the building, the land it stands on, and even the air directly above it. If you own a leasehold property though, you typically lease part of a freeholder’s property – not including the land it stands on – for a fixed period of time.
That fixed period of time is most often very long – 99 or even 999 years. However, while in some people’s eyes you are judged to own the property, from another point of view you are actually leasing it out for a very long time.
What Is A Lease?
The lease is the contract that defines the relationship between you as the leaseholder and the freeholder who owns the property you own or “lease” a part of.
Unlike if you were the freeholder, your lease in a leasehold may say you cannot alter the property. Some particularly stringent leasehold agreements even prohibit the leaseholder from having pets or redecorating in what should be their own home.
That said, the specific terms laid out in the lease can be overruled and supplemented by the laws that govern this kind of tenancy relationship.
Do You Need A Solicitor To Buy A Leasehold?
Even though roughly 2 million homeowners in the UK on their property via a leasehold arrangement, leaseholding is still a fairly niche part of property law. This makes it vital to secure expert legal advice before you enter into this kind of arrangement.
Of course, if you are buying a property using a mortgage, you will need a solicitor anyway. Lenders don’t tend to work without a conveyancing solicitor being involved.
However, it doesn’t have to be difficult to find a legal specialist to advise you on your leasehold – Solicitors Near Me can locate one for you for FREE and with no obligation to use them. All you need to do is call us on 0845 1391399 or make a Free Online Enquiry.
How Can Leasehold Solicitors Help You?
1) Understand Your Leasehold Rights
As a leaseholder, you have certain legal rights. But, as with many aspects of law, these aren’t always obvious. A specialist leasehold solicitor should help you understand them.
Sometimes these rights can also lead to leasehold property disputes where you will need legal expertise to defend your interests.
2) Know Your Restrictions
The classic leasehold restriction states that no alterations to the property can be made without landlord consent, but this doesn’t always apply. There may also be other restrictions that your solicitor should highlight.
3) Explore The Terms Of Your Lease
The terms of your lease include how long it lasts and how to secure an extension if necessary. It can be simple to renew your lease. However, some cases can be fiendishly complex.
4) List Or Challenge Lease Service Charges
Leasehold properties almost always include additional fees, including:
- Ground rent – is payable on many leasehold properties. In theory, you shouldn’t need to pay more than “one peppercorn”(i.e. nothing) if your lease was issued after changes to the law were made in 2022.
- Maintenance charges – the communal areas of the property such as stairwells and the exterior may still be technically owned by your landlord, the freeholder. They can levy charges for maintenance that should be stated in your lease.
- Service charges – some landlords outsource the work of the maintenance of communal areas to property maintenance companies. These are free to charge essentially what they wish and you can’t always control which company is chosen.
If you believe your landlord is charging unreasonable amounts for services or maintenance though, there is a decent amount of law in place to protect you as the leaseholder. Again, specialist legal advice will allow you to explore the possibilities if you are in this situation.
5) Extend Your Lease Or Enfranchise
If you are planning to sell a leasehold, one way to increase the value of your property is to extend your lease. Equally, if you have bought a leasehold with limited time left on the lease, you may also wish to extend it.
There are both voluntary and statutory lease extensions that are either negotiated – with the help of a solicitor that specialises in leaseholds – or required by law.
You can also look into leasehold enfranchisement. This is the act of turning your leasehold into a freehold by purchasing the entire property or expanding the areas covered by the lease.
How much are conveyancing fees for a leasehold?
You can expect to pay slightly higher conveyancing fees for a leasehold property simply because there is more work for any leasehold solicitor to do. The fees charged for other leasehold legal services will vary.
To find out more – and get paired with just the right legal expert in this field for your specific needs for FREE and with no commitment.