Before purchasing a leasehold property it is generally a good idea to check some important issues first.

How many years are left on the Lease?

This is one of the most important things to check when buying a leasehold property. You generally need around 80 plus years left on a Lease to secure a mortgage over it. Therefore, I would say check it has at least 85 years and if not consider asking the seller if they would be willing to start the lease extension process for you which you can then take over on completion of the sale.

How much ground rent is payable?

Another important factor is ground rent and this can be two fold. Firstly you want to check it’s not too high and secondly you want to check how often it increases. Again, lenders do not like to lend on high ground rents that double every 10 years. However, this can also be varied by the 1993 Act lease extension procedure.

Have any alterations been made?

If alterations have been made to a leasehold property you can bet there will be a clause in the lease that says the freeholder’s permission will be needed for this. Therefore it is always a good idea to ask whether any alterations have been made and whether permission was obtained, otherwise, a Retrospective Licence will need to be drawn up.

What sort of restrictions, if any, are there within the Lease?

The Lease will set out all the obligations and responsibilities of both the freeholder and leaseholder. It is imperative therefore that you get the Lease checked before proceeding with the purchase in case there are any restrictions that do not agree with your circumstances such as a ‘no pets’ clause for example.