Leasehold properties and the structure of leases vary. Where a service charge or maintenance charge is levied, solicitors for the Buyer have to obtain additional information.

How long will my house purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 10-12 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain (if there is one). For example if you are a first time buyer, purchasing a new build property with a mortgage in principle it could take 10 weeks. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 3 and 4 months. In such a situation additional charges would apply.

Your leasehold sale 

When we receive your instructions we will send you the Seller’s Leasehold Property Information form (in addition to the other forms). You then complete the form and return it to us. Importantly, this gives us the details of the company or individual that collects the ground rent and service/maintenance charge.

After submitting the contract papers we normally receive enquiries from the buyer’s solicitors about the service charge. We pass these enquiries to the management company and, when received, we forward their replies to the buyer’s solicitors.

Your leasehold purchase

When we receive the contract papers we review the lease. We will raise relevant enquires with the seller’s solicitors. We would expect many of these enquiries to be referred to the management company or the individual that collects the ground rent and service/maintenance charge.

When we receive the replies we will review them.

Some management companies and landlords are not quick to respond. Sometimes the answers to the initial enquiries lead to the need for further information. These are the main reasons why leasehold transactions, on average, take longer than freehold transactions.

There may be additional disbursements when purchasing your lease that are not included in our quote, this is because we will not know whether these are necessary and how much they will be until we receive the contract papers and review the lease.

Additional disbursements may include:

  • Notice of transfer fee – this fee if chargeable is set out in the lease.
  • Notice of charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – this fee is set out in the lease.
  • Deed of covenant fee – this fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate.
  • Certificate of compliance fee – to be confirmed upon receipt of the lease.
  • Indemnity policy – to be confirmed if required for the purchase. It is difficult to give a range as you can obtain indemnity policies for a wide variety of reasons.

These fees vary from property to property and are dependent on management companies and/or freeholders. Currently this remains unregulated so the management companies and/or freeholders are able to charge what they believe to be a reasonable price.  We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents or management pack.

You should be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as we receive this information.

Get in Touch

Martin Reynolds is a partner at Barrett and Co Solicitors LLP.

He has a huge amount of experience in dealing with leases and contracts. He provides high value support to the conveyancing team of Alan Warnes and Richard Ince, in particular where there are unusual or complex property leases.  He also has huge experience in high value residential transactions, tax and company structures, as well as overseas arrangements.

If you would like to arrange a meeting with Martin in our Reading Berkshire office, please email Martin or call us on 0118 958 9711 so that an appointment can be made.

Martin also advises on a broad range of property and commercial matters including business sales and acquisitions and commercial property.