Perrin Myddelton recognises that buying a house or flat can be a daunting prospect, especially for first time buyers. We consider that our main role is to take most of the worry off your shoulders and to guide you through the process as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
We will make sure that when you sign the purchase contract you will have the confidence of knowing that everything, legally speaking, is in order, so that all you have to worry about is arranging your removals and obtaining the keys at completion.
Of course, there is a lot more to it than that, but our aim is to assist at every stage and not leave you high and dry. We expect to develop a working relationship with you with clear lines of communication and mutual understanding.
If you are buying a flat then we will have additional legal work to do. Not only do we need to check that the form of lease is acceptable to you and your mortgagee, but we will need to look into the management of the building of which the flat forms part and the service charge that you will have to pay.
We will also have to consider the length of term left to run under the lease. As the years tick by, the lease term obviously reduces and, whilst the current residue of the term may be acceptable to you and your mortgagee today, it may not be satisfactory by the time you come to sell.
Furthermore, the ground rent provisions will need to be considered, especially if there are provisions for increasing the ground rent at various stages during the lease term. Again these provisions may not be acceptable to your mortgagee.
It should be noted that once you have owned your leasehold flat for 2 years or more you can apply to extend it by 90 years and reduce the rent to a peppercorn. OK you will have to pay a premium to the landlord (plus his legal and valuation costs) but this consideration will undoubtedly arise, if not now then at some point in the future. It makes sense to be aware of and understand the legal position now, especially if the unexpired term is less than 99 years. We can advise fully on this during the course of your purchase of a leasehold flat and we will address this point at the earliest opportunity after you instruct us.
Most buyers of residential property require help in the form of a mortgage from a bank or building society. As Perrin Myddelton is on most lenders’ panels of solicitors, it is likely that we can act for you and for the lender. We would recommend that you inform us of your mortgage plans at an early stage.
Declarations of Trust
Where two or more of you are buying a house or flat together you really need to consider entering into a Declaration of Trust between you particularly if the financial contributions you have made towards the purchase price are unequal or you are contributing unequally to mortgage repayments. We can assist you here by preparing a Declaration of Trust under which you will agree between you how the net proceeds of sale of any future sale of the property should be split. This is vital to avoid disputes in the future.
A sale of a residential property is generally more straightforward than a purchase. This is certainly the case in respect of freeholds.
However, in the case of leaseholds, there are additional matters to consider such as management information (including rent and service charge details) that your buyer will wish to know all about.
If you are contemplating selling a leasehold flat then it would make sense to consult with us at a very early stage. Depending on the number of years unexpired, say, for the sake of argument, 80 years or less, you may find that you need to trigger the lease extension procedure referred to above (see “Leasehold Flats” above). You could consider trying to complete the lease extension process before you market your flat in which case you would have to pay a premium to your landlord and his legal and valuations costs. Alternatively, if your buyer agrees, you could agree a special provision in the sale contract whereby you trigger the process immediately after exchange of contracts and the buyer takes an assignment of the rights. (The buyer could trigger the process but only after he has owned the flat for 2 years or more.) This will incur additional fees but it may be the only way that you can sell your flat at its current market value.
Either way, we will help you through this and find the best solution for you.
Simultaneous sales and purchases
If you are not a first time buyer and are moving house the chances are that you will be trying to sell and buy simultaneously and use the net sale proceeds as part of your purchase price. We will take care of paying off your existing mortgage and drawing the funds required under a new mortgage.
Buy to let
A buy to let purchase entails slightly different consideration but once again we can advise on all aspects and can draft or approve your assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
A substantial part of Perrin Myddelton’s experience is devoted to property, both commercial and residential, and we have at present no less than 12 solicitors who practice various aspects of property work. We are here to help you.