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Conveyancing / Leasehold / Extension

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  • Conveyancing / Leasehold / Extension

    Hi folks,

    Apologies if this ground has been covered over and over again but I'm a FTB and find a lot of this stuff very difficult to follow!

    I'm close to exchanging contracts on a property but as seems to be the norm, a snag has come up in respect to an extension.

    It's a 1920s semi-detatched property in Northern Ireland that has a single story flat roof extension out the back that was completed in 1985.

    My solicitors have written an alarming letter to me with the gist of it being:

    - The valuation from the lender recommended the solicitor be satisfied that all nessecary permissions and approvals be sought out for the extensions.

    - The property has a leasehold title and one of the covenants requires ground landlord consent for extensions. There has been no proof that the landlord approved the extension and no ground rent receipts in "some years" to suggest the landlord has waived the breach.

    - Therefore the word from our solicitor is that there is a possibility of an actionable breach of leasehold covenant.

    What advice or suggestions do people have on this matter? The solicitors are sending what they have discovered to the lender so that they can seek direction from the valuer. I'm slightly worried that this may impact getting a mortgage, even though the mortgage has previously been approved and the valuation found to be agreeable.

    Given that the extension work was done between 10-30 years ago (the vendor has supplied documentation that building regulation plans were passed for the extension), I'd imagine it's quite unlikely that the landlord would have any qualms now about what has been done. However, how great is the risk that they would do something about it? Does indemnity insurance only cover the council deciding to do something about it? Is there any legal precident for how long these things can go on for before they no longer become an issue?

    As per usual, this property is our dream home (aren't they all?) and we have spent a fair bit of money already on survey/legal fees and on a previous property that fell through (bad luck on our part really).

    All and any advice about the implications of this would be most welcome. I see the two biggest issues here being:

    1. Mortgage.
    2. Reselling the property.


  • #2
    Re: Conveyancing / Leasehold / Extension

    If the property was in England then an indemnity policy would be a way forward and would protect against the freeholder taking action. As an English solicitor I can't be sure that it would be the same in NI. As it is a smaller market indemnity policies may not be so easily available in NI.
    RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
    As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.


    • #3
      Re: Conveyancing / Leasehold / Extension

      Thanks - I'll talk to my financial advisor and see if indemnity insurance is an option here!