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New Leases & Title Splits

The area around leases and title splits can be fraught with pitfalls which is why it’s important to seek legal advice. We can help guide you through the complexities of this area of the law, but for now here’s some answers to questions you might have:

What’s a lease?

This is a document that gives a lessee (the owner of a property) the rights to possession of the property for the lease term. The lease also sets out all the rights and obligations of both the owner and the landlord.

What’s ground rent?

Ground rent is an annual fee payable to a landlord under a lease. You might say that it covers the cost of the house or flat renting the ground on which it stands.

What’s service charge?

It’s a charge levied by landlords to recover any costs they incur in carrying out general maintenance, repairs and insurance of the building. It also covers the cost of other services, such as heating, lifts, porterage, lighting and the cleaning of common areas. A service charge may also include the cost of management by the landlord or by a professional managing agent and contributions to a reserve fund.

What is a reserve fund?

It’s a sum of money collected from leaseholders as part of their service charge contribution to meet the cost of expenditure on the building in future years. It’s often set up to cover the cost of major repairs like a new roof, for example.

How do I split my house from my garden?

Generally speaking, most properties are registered at the Land Registry under one title number. If you have two dwellings within one number you might wish to separate them so that each has its own number. If you want to transfer part of your property, you’ll need a surveyor to draw up a land registry compliant plan showing the extent of the land to be transferred. 

We can take care of the legal elements to the transfer for you. It’s worth noting that if you’ve a mortgage secured against your property, you’ll need to obtain your lenders consent to transfer that part of the land and that your lender may or may not require a payment to reduce the mortgage debt before it consents to the transfer dependent on the value of what remains.

How does Russell & Russell provide a conveyancing quotation for my new lease or title split?

We always provide a written quotation at the outset of a transaction, based on the information provided to us at that time so that you know where you stand and to ensure that there’s no misunderstanding between us at a later time.

In the case of residential conveyancing, we’re usually able to offer a fixed fee for our time. We’ll quote a fixed fee for the work normally undertaken in a standard case and will include a list of additional fixed fees that we would charge if you require additional work to be undertaken. Examples of this would be arranging a Title Indemnity Policy, Help To Buy ISA, preparing a Trust Deed or dealing with a Deed of Covenant. We may also be prepared to work on a “No Sale No Fee” basis – please ask about this if it’s of interest to you.

We’ll always honour the fixed fee unless the information relied upon by us at the time of the estimate was incorrect, or it subsequently becomes apparent that there’s an issue that will significantly affect the amount of time that has to be spent. In either case, we’ll notify you of any such development before we proceed further.

Examples of circumstances that might change the cost would be if the property is a flat, not a house as you initially informed us. Or, if a lease extension is required or if the ownership is defective and remedial action is needed.

For a free quote and breakdown of related disbursements known at this time please use our quote enquiry form.

In addition to receiving instructions direct from buyers and sellers, we also work alongside brokers, referrers and property agents who refer clients to us. If we have agreed to pay to them a referral fee for recommending us to act for you, then we’ll disclose the amount to you and we’ll pay the amount involved to the referrer out of our fee.

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