How Long Does a Leasehold Transaction take from Instruction?

Author:
Louise Celaire
Conveyancing Lawyer
Date:
28/06/2019

In England and Wales a leasehold property transaction from instruction can take any time between 4 and 12 weeks. However, there are many factors that need to be considered, such as whether there is a chain involved, and whether a buyer is getting a mortgage.

The average timeline of events when one of our Conveyancers acts for a buyer is as follows:

  • Conveyancer receives instructions and file is opened
  • Conveyancer receives Contract Pack from the Seller’s Solicitors. This includes the following documents:
    • Contract for Sale
    • Leasehold Title and Plan
    • Freehold Title and Plan
    • Copy of the Lease
    • Property Information Form
    • Leasehold Property Information Form
    • Fixtures and Fittings List
    • LPE1 (Managing Agents/Freehold Questionnaire)
      • Once the Contract Pack is received, the Conveyancer will read through the paperwork and raise any enquiries. It’s quite usual at the early stages that the LPE1 Pack is not readily available and will follow once the seller’s Solicitor has received this from the Managing Agents/Landlord
      • Property searches are then applied for. The results of these can, in some occasions, take up to a month to be received
      • Any additional enquiries are then raised on the search results
      • Mortgage Offer is received and reviewed
      • Replies to enquiries received from the seller’s Solicitors. These often come in different stages as and when the seller’s Solicitors have the information to provide full replies to enquiries
      • Once the Conveyancer has all the required information, they’ll then report to the client. This involves a full written report on all of the elements of the transaction, to include the Lease, Search Results, Mortgage, LPE1 and replies to enquiries. Also contained in the report will be instructions for the transfer of the 10% deposit and the request for proof of funds
      • The client will read through the report and revert with any queries that they have. Subject to their satisfaction, they will then sign and return the required documentation and make arrangements to transfer the deposit funds
      • Once the Conveyancer has received all original signed documents and deposit funds, they will then be in a position to exchange and will obtain the client’s authority. It is usual that a minimum of a least one week is obtained between exchange and completion of contracts.

The above information is of course all subject to the speed it takes all parties to provide the relevant information.

It’s always worthwhile for a seller to complete all the Property Information Forms as soon as possible, and to provide their Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor with the contact details for the managing agents/landlord and their admin fee in the shortest possible time (on some occasions, it’s even quicker for the seller to pay for the pack directly), so that an LPE1 Pack can be obtained fairly quickly.

This can sometimes be the main cause for lengthy delays in leasehold property transactions, with some managing agents being slow in providing the pack. Also, on some occasions there may be two packs to obtain if there is a separate landlord and managing agents who have an active role for the property.

A further delay can sometimes arise when the buyer’s Solicitor raises additional leasehold enquiries in which the seller has to revert back to the managing agents/landlord for their response. So therefore, the transaction is reliant upon third parties.

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