Leasehold Purchase

Price transparency

Due to the numerous variables on a transaction it is difficult to predict what the legal fee will be as this is calculated on a time spent basis and dependent on a number of factors involved including the level of seniority of the fee earner allocated to your matter. However as a result of many years of experience we are usually able to deal with these matters quickly and efficiently and within budget. It would be preferable to have a quick call with you to discuss the transaction before submitting a personalised fee indication but below is a estimated fee range and expenses involved on a regular straightforward leasehold purchase for the below property values.

 

Property Value Estimated fee range excluding VAT
£250,000 £1,100-£1,350
£500,000 £1,350-£1,750
£750,000 £1,750-£2,000
£1,000,000 £2,000-£2,400
£1,500,000 £2,400-£2,850

 

Disbursements (excluding VAT)

 

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as Land Registry fees. We handle payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. There are certain disbursements which will be set out in the individual lease relating to the property. The disbursements which we anticipate will apply are set out separately below. This list is not exhaustive and other disbursements may apply depending on the term of the lease. We will update you on specific fees upon receipt and review of the lease from the seller’s solicitors.

 

Anticipated Disbursements:

  • Notice of Transfer fee – this fee if chargeable is often set out in the lease. This can be between £5-£100
  • Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – this fee is set out in the lease. This can be between £5-£100
  • Deed of Covenant – this fee is provided by the management company for the property and is very difficult to estimate. Often it is between £120-£250.
  • Certificate of Compliance fee – to be confirmed upon receipt of the lease as conveyed between £75-£150

 

These fees vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges given above. We can obviously give you an accurate estimate once we have had sight of the specific leasehold documents.

You should also 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 payable as soon as we receive this information from the management company and/or landlord.

 

Disbursement Fees
Land Registry Fees £20-£455
Local Search (dependant on which Local Authority but say) £150-£350
Chancel Check Search £20
Drainage Search £50-£100
Environmental Search £50-£100
Land Registry Search £3
Bankruptcy Search £2
Bank Charges £20

 

Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) or Land Tax

This depends on the purchase price of your property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC'S website (https://www.tax.service.gove.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro) or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority's website here (https://beta.gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-calculator). We would however advise with regards to the amount of SDLT payable as this is a complicated area and many variables can affect the amount of tax payable including but not limited to the purchase price and the capacity which you are buying the property.

What are the stages of the leasehold purchase process?

Your solicitor is an independent professional legal adviser acting solely on your behalf and, when contemplating the purchase of your home, which is probably your major asset, it is advisable to seek preliminary advice from your solicitor before proceeding.

  1. Preliminary advice is free and readily available and will include answering your queries such as :-
    1. when considering making an offer, what factors should I take into account in order to reduce the ultimate purchase price?
    2. how do I phrase my offer and when should I make a verbal offer? NB. All offers must be expressed as “Subject to Contract”.
    3. is it necessary to have an independent structural survey carried out; if so when should the surveyor be instructed?
    4. what costs am I likely to be involved with? These include search fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry fees, Surveyors' fees and legal fees.
  2. Once your offer has been accepted by the seller we will receive all relevant details from either the seller or the seller's estate agents to allow us to write to them requesting a draft contract.
  3. It is essential for us to submit all searches but particularly a Local Authority Search as soon as possible as the results can take up to four weeks.
  4. It required, you should submit a mortgage application at the commencement of the transaction as this can also take four weeks or more before the lenders issue you with a letter of offer.
  5. Your mortgage application should be accompanied by a cheque to cover the lender's valuers' fees.
  6. Once we have examined the draft contract and the seller's title, (including the lease and any supplemental documents) we submit our enquiries to the seller's solicitors. Additional enquiries will need to be made of the managing agents/landlord relating to any planned major works, service charge account, sinking fund, insurance etc. We will also assess if a retention to cover the service charge for the current year is necessary.
  7. If the lease requires the landlord's consent to the sale we will need to obtain references for you to satisfy the landlord that you can afford the ground rent and service charge and will make a responsible leaseholder
  8. It may be necessary for you to enter into additional documents such as a Deed of Covenant or Rent Deposit Deed with the landlord. We will deal with negotiating terms and gaining your execution of these documents.
  9. Upon receiving satisfactory replies to the enquiries raised as well as the Local Authority Search and other appropriate searches we can forward to you a full report. This report examines in detail pre-contract documentation together with a full explanation of your likely responsibilities and liabilities.
  10. Providing the pre-contract documentation is in order and you have received a satisfactory letter of offer from your lender we can submit the contract to you for signature and request that you place us in funds for the 10% deposit monies payable upon exchange.
  11. We act for all the major building societies and banks and should receive instructions to act on their behalf at the same time as you receive your letter of offer. This reduces your legal costs and allows us to expedite the transaction for you. Often the lease may also require the landlord's consent to register the mortgage against the property, which we will deal with.
  12. If you are unable to produce the 10% deposit, we may be able to negotiate a reduction in the deposit sum.
  13. Prior to exchange you may wish to consider negotiating a reduction in the price dependent upon the outcome of your survey report and all or any other relevant factors. We always advise clients to have an independent structural survey carried out in addition to the lender's valuation (which may not be made available to you in any event).
  14. It is preferable to include in the contract a clause to cover the additional purchase of any fixtures and fittings which you may have agreed upon direct with the seller to ensure that (a) there is a contractual liability on the seller to leave the items and (b) the sums for the said items are paid to the seller to leave the items and (c) the sums for these items are paid to the seller's solicitors on completion.
  15. On exchange of contracts a completion date is agreed, on that date you obtain vacant possession providing the balance of the purchase monies are handed over to the Seller's Solicitors. The completion date is normally 10-14 days after exchange but this date can be brought forward or put back depending on the wishes of the parties.
  16. Once exchange of contracts has taken place you are contractually obliged to proceed with the purchase unless there is a valid legal reason allowing withdrawal and the return of the 10% deposit monies.
  17. After exchange and prior to completion it is necessary for you to sign the mortgage documentation and we will forward to you a completion statement setting out your financial position to include all or any Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry fees, legal fees and apportionment of ground rent and service charge.
  18. On the day of completion it is usual for us to forward to the seller's solicitors the balance of the purchase monies by bank transfer and these monies should be received by the seller's solicitor before 2.00 pm. You will not normally be given the keys to your new property until such time as the seller's solicitors receive the monies.
  19. You can either make your own arrangements with the seller to hand over the keys or alternatively the keys will be left with the estate agents to be collected once the Seller's solicitors have authorised their release.
  20. After completion has taken place it is necessary for us to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax and register your interest and that of your mortgage lender at the Land Registry. Once the transaction is registered we will send you a copy of the register for your information.
How long will your matter take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move into your house will depend on a number of factors such as how quickly your lender deals with your mortgage application; how quickly you can instruct a valuation or building survey on the property; the length of the conveyancing process and the requirements of the landlord and the speed at which they or their solicitors provide the information. The average process takes between 10-12 weeks. It can be quicker or slower depending on the cooperation and number of parties in the conveyancing chain.

Factors that can make your matter more complex and increase costs?
  • If it is a condition of the lease that the buyer enters into a deed of covenant with the landlord/managing agent or management company. (In this way the landlord or management company has a direct contract with the buyer and prior notification of the new lessee.)
  • If a Rent Deposit Deed is required
  • A lease may require that the sale of the flat cannot take place without the prior written consent of the landlord. This document is called a licence to assign or a formal letter of consent. The Seller will deal with obtaining the document for signature but this will need to be approved.
  • The buyer will also pay the management company/freeholder a fee for registering the deed of covenant or granting consent and assignment of the lease
What is not included in the fee estimate outlined for a leasehold purchase?
  • Service charge dispute
  • Retention being held
  • Leasehold extension
  • Compliance with restrictions on the title
  • Purchase through any Government Schemes
  • Purchase through shared ownership schemes
  • Dealing with any pre-emption rights
  • Grant of a new lease
  • Purchase subject to occupational tenancies
  • Multiple owners
  • Purchase at auction
  • Purchase of share in the freehold
  • Purchase of part

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