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Leasehold Solicitors: Everything You Need to Know


Written by Reviewed by Carol O'Leary

7th Nov 2022 (Last updated on 15th May 2024) 9 minute read

Leasehold solicitors assist with the purchase or sale of leasehold properties. Conveyancing fees for leasehold properties are higher compared to freehold properties. This is due to the extra paperwork and documentation involved. Most solicitors will offer leasehold services, however you may find some have more experience with these types of properties than others. Therefore, it is important to get multiple conveyancing quotes as costs may vary.

In this guide, we discuss everything you need to know about leasehold property solicitors. This includes their role in housing and property matters and why you should hire one to help.

  1. What Does a Leasehold Solicitor Do?
  2. How Much Do Leasehold Solicitors Charge?
  3. How to Find the Best Leasehold Solicitor
  4. Do I Need a Solicitor to Renew my Lease?
  5. Why is it Important to Get Legal Advice for Leasehold Properties?
  6. Other Reasons to Hire a Leasehold Solicitor
  7. Difference between Freehold vs Leasehold
  8. Can I Purchase the Freehold?
  9. Finding a Conveyancer

What Does a Leasehold Solicitor Do?

A leasehold solicitor provides customers with expert legal advice. They will submit the correct documentation regarding your house purchase or sale. They will ensure all of your relevant payments are made so everything runs smoothly on your completion day. In addition, they also deal with Deed of Covenants which largely affect leasehold properties and states that the leaseholder agrees to undertake an obligation laid out by the landlord.

This provides peace of mind and confidence in your transaction. Here are the most important documents and payments you should be aware of:

LPE1 Form

The LPE1 Form is known as the Leasehold Property Enquiries Form. This form is one of the most important documents that must be submitted. It is completed by the freeholder or managing agent who owns the lease of the property being sold.

The LPE1 Form delves into important information on the property. This includes pet restrictions, parking, fire safety, and urgent work that needs to be conducted. It can be used as a reference during property disputes.

LPE2 Form

The LPE2 Form is known as the Consumer Summary Form or the Buyers Leasehold Information Summary. It is also completed by the freeholder or managing agent alongside the LPE1 Form.

This form will include the costs for the compliance certificate and any maintenance costs. It also details the responsibilities of the leaseholder.

Ground Rent

Ground rent is another charge that the buyer will have to pay. It is usually paid every 6 months, but it is dependent on your lease agreement. You can also be charged monthly or yearly. The ground rent is owed to the party that owns the property freehold.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 covers ground rent laws. However, it’s worth noting that this bill is being updated in 2024. This update suggests that ground rent for leasehold properties may be lower.

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How Much Do Leasehold Solicitors Charge?

Based on the national UK average house price of £285,000, the average solicitor fees for buying a leasehold property is £1,490. Solicitor fees when selling a leasehold property are around £1,420. This is based on Compare My Move cost data.

There are additional costs associated with leasehold properties. These are not needed when buying a freehold property to keep in mind. These costs include:

  • Leasehold property supplement fee
  • Leasehold management information pack
  • Engrossment fee (typically associated with flats and new-builds

    For an estimated idea of your conveyancing costs, use our Conveyancing Fees Calculator.

    How to Find the Best Leasehold Solicitor

    Property ownership for leasehold properties is different to buying a freehold. As a result, you will need to enlist the help of a professional solicitor that covers this specialist area.

    The best way to find a leasehold solicitor is to carry out research. Search for solicitors that have a high number of positive reviews and are credible. This will help to ensure you are receiving the best possible service.

    The best leasehold solicitors are part of ALEP. This is the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners. This organisation ensures solicitors provide customers with the best possible service.

    Here at Compare My Move, we have a network of licensed leasehold solicitors who can assist you with the sale or purchase of your leasehold property. Simply fill out our online conveyancing comparison form to be connected with up to 6 different leasehold solicitors to find the best solicitor for your needs.

    All our partners have passed our strict verification process. This includes being regulated by either the SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI, or CILEx. We can also help you to save up to £700 on your conveyancing fees.

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    Do I Need a Solicitor to Renew my Lease?

    If you are required to renew your lease, you will need a solicitor to submit the documentation for you. Most leases last between 99 and 999 years, so you will not need to renew them.

    If you have taken on a shorter lease, it will need to be renewed at the end of your lease term. It’s recommended to have a lease extended if there are less than 80 years left. Anything under 70 years can be difficult to remortgage and can cause marriage value to increase.

    A lease extension costs an average between £7,000 and £10,000. Costs including solicitor and valuation fees will also need to be considered. You can find out the exact cost of your leasehold extension by using our Leasehold Extension Calculator.

    There is no guarantee that the party who owns the freehold will grant you a lease extension. Most freehold owners want tenants who will stay in the property on a long-term basis and will grant this.

    Why is it Important to Get Legal Advice for Leasehold Properties?

    There is a lot of paperwork and legal aspects involved with purchasing a leasehold property. This is why it is important to hire a professional conveyancer. They will discuss legal costs, explain any jargon you are unsure of and make you aware of specific requirements. This is also true for buy to let conveyancing which is the legal process for transferring ownership of a property to you as an investment you intend to let out.

    Many solicitors specialise in leasehold properties. As a result, they have extensive experience with this type of conveyancing process. This can include experience with the Building Safety Act 2022. This act helps to ensure that higher-risk leasehold buildings are improved and made safer for those occupying them. This includes the cladding surrounding a property and other necessary building regulations.

    The solicitor will complete and exchange the legal contracts and fees on your behalf. They help to ensure that everything runs smoothly up to your completion day.

    Other Reasons to Hire a Leasehold Solicitor

    Leasehold solicitors are typically hired during the purchase or sale of a leasehold property. However, there are other scenarios in which they may be required, including:

    Appointing a Manager

    Leasehold solicitors can help you to appoint a new manager. This is done by applying for a First-tier Tribunal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.

    Breach of Lease

    Leasehold solicitors can assist with a breach of the lease. Landlords or managing agents dealing with a disruptive tenant can hire a leasehold solicitor. They can help with addressing the breach of the lease. Breaches can include noise complaints, subletting, or unauthorised pets.

    Dispute Resolution

    A common reason why leasehold solicitors are hired is dispute resolution. This is when the landlord and tenant disagree over the terms of the lease. The solicitor is on hand to offer legal advice and to act on your behalf until an agreement is reached. This is done by applying to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). Most leasehold solicitors can advise both landlords and tenants.

    Leasehold Development

    If there are any leasehold developments taking place, a leasehold solicitor should be instructed. This is to prevent any legal difficulties further down the line. It will also ensure that all developments are carried out correctly.

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    Difference between Freehold vs Leasehold

    There is a significant difference between purchasing a freehold and a leasehold property. When you purchase a freehold home, you own the property. With leasehold properties, while you pay a mortgage, you don’t own the property in the same way. Instead, you lease the residential property on a long-term basis from the freeholder that owns the buildings.

    Advantages of Leasehold and Freehold Properties:

    Leasehold PropertiesFreehold Properties
    Service charges can help to cover maintenance work and repairs needed on the buildingCheaper than purchasing a leasehold property as there are no ground fees or maintenance fees
    You don’t have to organise your own building insurance. This is handled by the freeholderYou have control over your property and changes you want to make within reason
    The property can be less expensive to purchase if the lease is under 100 yearsYou do not have to worry about lease extensions
    Gardening work can be covered by the fees you payYou have more freedom with what you want to do with your property, such as renovation work and adding extensions

    Disadvantages of Leasehold and Freehold Properties:

    Leasehold PropertiesFreehold Properties

    You will not own the property outright and will lease it from the freeholder

    You can experience party wall issues and potential disputes with neighbours

    You are required to pay fees such as maintenance and service charges which can be quite expensive

    There is more responsibility involved when it comes to managing the property

    There are restrictions to the changes that can be made to the property in terms of building work. You will need to seek consent for certain changes.

    You will need to pay for all maintenance work

    If your lease expires a new one may not be granted, and it can be more difficult to remortgage a leasehold property with a shorter lease

    You will need to arrange your own buildings insurance.

    A new Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill is being introduced in 2024. This bill will raise standard leasehold contracts from 99 years to 999 years. This will help to eradicate issues with remortgaging and selling properties with a shorter leasehold. It will also make it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold.

    For more information on the differences read Freehold vs Leasehold: What’s the Difference?

    Can I Purchase the Freehold?

    It is possible to buy the freehold. This is dependent on whether the landlord is willing to sell the freehold. Tenants are always given the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) by law. This allows them the opportunity to purchase or decline to buy the freehold. This falls under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

    If the leaseholder and freeholder agree, then a leasehold solicitor is needed to complete the transaction. Fellow leaseholders of a building can collectively purchase the freehold. This is known as Collective Enfranchisement or Leasehold Enfranchisement.

    There is more paperwork that needs to be submitted when buying the freehold. This is why it is important to seek assistance from a solicitor who can specialise in buying the freehold.

    Many benefits come with purchasing the freehold. This includes lower maintenance costs, more control over the property and additional freedom. Owners of the freehold can choose the property management company they want to use too.

    Keep in mind that the freeholder may not be willing to sell you the freehold. It's best to check whether the owner has agreed to go ahead with the sale before instructing your solicitor.

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    Finding a Conveyancer

    At Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 conveyancers to save you up to 70% on your conveyancing costs. All our conveyancing partners have passed our strict verification process for your peace of mind. This means they are all regulated by either the SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI or CILEx.

    Need a Surveyor?

    Once you've found a conveyancer, you soon might need the help of a RICS property surveyor. Simply fill in our integrated conveyancing and surveying comparison form to get connected today.

    You can compare companies through our integrated conveyancing and surveying form by filling out a few extra steps. We will then connect you with local conveyancers and surveyors to save on the whole process.

    Carol O'Leary

    Reviewed by Carol O'Leary

    Director, Thursfields Solicitors

    Carol O’Leary has over 20 years of experience in the conveyancing industry and is the new Director of Thursfields Solicitors.

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