Background

Leaseholds

Buying a leasehold property requires expert advice from experienced residential conveyancing lawyer. Our award-winning residential property team can help you with every aspect of a leasehold purchase, offering jargon-free, practical advice and ensuring that your transaction progresses as smoothly as possible.

Leasehold purchases, almost by definition, are more complex than freeholds where the purchaser acquires both the building and land on which it stands outright. Changing legislation around leaseholds means that you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure that you fully understand what you are intending to buy and that the lease itself is legally compliant. This will affect not just your occupation or letting of the property, but also any future sale, so it’s important to go into a leasehold purchase with complete knowledge.

Our specialist leasehold lawyers are part of a conveyancing team that has repeatedly been rated the best in the South West for customer service. With offices throughout Cornwall and Devon, we can provide you with a personal, face-to-face service based on a detailed understanding of the local market, in a location near to your work or home.

Your leasehold property sale or purchase will be handled by a senior and experienced conveyancer, so you have two people to contact at all times. And, being members of the Conveyancing Association, we are fully up to date with the very latest developments in leasehold legislation. We also sit on most of the lenders’ panels and can therefore act for both you and your lender, saving you time and potentially money.

What is a leasehold property?

All properties are classed as either leasehold or freehold. Leasehold means that you own the property, but not the land on which it is built. You have the right to own and live in the property for as long as the lease is valid, but the land remains the property of the freeholder Many existing leases will very require you to pay ground rent throughout your ownership. Understanding the terms under which this ground rent is charged is critical and, without expert advice from an experienced leasehold solicitor, you could find yourself exposed to rapidly escalating charges that could affect your ability to sell or to obtain a mortgage loan. We can also advise you on lease extensions and deeds of variation where the terms of the lease are adjusted, and on indemnities to protect you from ground rent escalation.

Buying a leasehold property

When you a buy a leasehold property, you will have the long-term right to occupy the property. However, you would not usually own the structure of the building nor the land on which it is built. If you are looking to invest in a flat, it is likely that you will be buying a leasehold property. In these circumstances, you will probably be agreeing to make regular payments to whoever is responsible for managing the building. We will help you to understand the level of these charges and what is and is not covered by them.

As the owner of a leasehold property, many of your rights and obligations will be set out in the lease. This means the property deeds are often lengthy, complex and full of unfamiliar legal jargon. You may also find that your mortgage lender has guidelines about which lease terms they will accept. As your leasehold property lawyers, we will explain the legal terminology to ensure you understand it and are able to make informed decisions.

Selling a leasehold property

If you are selling a leasehold property, an important consideration is the length of the remaining lease term. Many potential buyers will be concerned that, at the end of the term, the property will return to the ownership of the landlord. While new leases have a longer lease term, typically between 125 and 999 years, older leases will now have a relatively short lease. This could be off-putting to potential buyers and their respective lenders. We can advise you on applying for leasehold extension. The process is complex, but our specialist leasehold property solicitors can help.

When selling a leasehold property, you may also be asked by the landlord or management company for the building to pay administration fees to cover their costs. Some leases, usually for retirement flats, include an exit or transfer fee. As your leasehold property solicitor, we would review your lease to check what costs you are obliged to pay.

Fees for conveyancing

We recognise that you may be nervous about the legal costs of property transactions. That’s why we offer fixed fees for conveyancing, with no hidden costs. With Coodes as your leasehold conveyancing lawyers, you’ll have complete certainty – about the process, the progress, and how much it’s going to cost.

Team

Sarah Cowley

Head of Residential Property

Kathryn Shaw

Associate

Laura Noble

Associate

Sophie Jones

Associate

Emma Pearce

Licensed Conveyancer

Heidi Start

Solicitor

Isa Wilkins

Conveyancing Executive

Lianne Priest

Solicitor

Mary Wright

Chartered Legal Executive

News & Events

Key contact

Sarah Cowley

Head of Residential Property

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We have a very clear pricing structure and ensure that you have a very clear idea of what your move will cost from the outset.

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