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Why is it taking so long? An insight into Leasehold Delays in Property Transactions

A photo of Charlotte Moore
7th December 2023

Leasehold properties in Conveyancing transactions can add an extra layer of complexity that can sometimes lead to delays. Understanding the potential hurdles associated with leasehold transactions is crucial for both buyers and sellers to ensure a smoother process.

1. Leasehold Structure and Documentation

Leasehold properties come with a lease agreement between the property owner (landlord) and the buyer (leaseholder). Delays can arise when the lease documentation is incomplete or contains ambiguous terms. Thoroughly reviewing and clarifying these documents at the outset can prevent future complications.

2. Lease Extension Negotiations

As leasehold properties approach the end of their lease term, buyers often seek lease extensions. Negotiating these extensions can be a time-consuming process, involving legal consultations and agreements between the parties. These negotiations may cause delays in the overall transaction timeline.

3. Freeholder Approval

Leasehold transactions often require approval from the freeholder, who owns the land on which the property stands. Obtaining this approval can be a bottleneck, especially if the freeholder is unresponsive or has a lengthy approval process. A management company may also be in place, a company hired by property owners to oversee the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the leasehold property, this can also cause delays. Buyers and sellers should factor in potential delays arising from this crucial step.

4. Valuation Challenges

Valuing a leasehold property involves considering various factors, such as the remaining lease term, ground rent, and potential extensions. Valuation discrepancies can lead to negotiation stalemates, causing delays as both parties strive to reach an agreement that reflects the property's true worth.

5. Mortgage Lender Scrutiny

Mortgage lenders often scrutinise leasehold properties more thoroughly than freehold ones. This scrutiny is aimed at assessing the property's risk and can lead to additional requirements or prolonged approval processes, contributing to delays in the overall transaction.

6. Legal Hurdles and Due Diligence

Leasehold transactions require meticulous legal due diligence to uncover any potential legal issues. Discrepancies in titles, unresolved disputes, or unapproved alterations to the property can surface, necessitating legal resolutions that may extend the transaction timeline.

7. Ground Rent and Service Charges

Buyers should be wary of ground rent and service charges associated with leasehold properties. Unexpected increases or disputes over these charges can cause friction between parties and, consequently, delays in finalising the transaction.

While leasehold properties offer unique opportunities, potential delays lurk in the intricate details of their transactions. Both buyers and sellers must approach these deals with a keen awareness of the specific challenges associated with leasehold arrangements.

At Thomas Flavell and Sons, through our due diligence, clear communication, and proactive resolution of potential issues we pave the way for a smoother and more efficient leasehold property transaction. If you would like to hear more about our advanced conveyancing services, please contact our team today.

This blog was written by Charlotte Moore, an Associate Solicitor within our Conveyancing team. Based in our Hinckley office, Charlotte is rated 4.9/5 stars on ReviewSolicitors. Click here to see her profile. To speak to Charlotte about Conveyancing matters, please call 01455 610747 or email