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What are the downsides to buying a flat rather than a house ?(52 Posts)
Never bought a flat before but considering it
I know you have to take into account you hve to pay ground rent and maintenance fees
And I suppose as you don’t own the land you kind of never really own it in a way, but anything else I should take into consideration ?
Pretty much service charge- bastard managing agents that can demand what they like- ever decreasing lease hold years.... I would never again!
Selfish neighbours above and below you . Service charges just seem to increase ... no garden
Garden - imagine it during a lockdown
The lease issue. Noisy neighbours. Having to pay towards maintenance of whole building, not just your flat. Ground rent.
The estate agent told us that there are 170 2 bed flats on the market in our town. They aren't much cheaper than houses which are selling before they even get on rightmove
I'm in a flat with huge communal gardens, so lack of garden is not always a problem. Find out how the flats are managed, whether there is a residents committee and who the management company is and what kind of reputation they have. In my old flat, the management company were fantastic. At my current flats they are a complete nightmare.
Potentially few options to extend. Lease issues, neighbour problems (although these often exist with houses too!)
Shared parking or parking further away or both. Never being able to leave a window open if a ground floor flat, having to get everything upstairs for higher floors.
Every year rebuffing attempts by the management company to charge for things they shouldn't be and increasing the next years charges. Got myself and fellow flat owners savvy with our rights and the law and brought us together. Never again
We bought a flat. The pros so far have been:
- We haven't had to pay to fix the leak in the roof
- We get free underfloor heating in winter (elderly downstairs neighbours keeping their heating on!)
- it feels safe. I have no issues leaving the balcony door unlocked and windows open when we're out, or sleeping with windows open. I was always anxious in a house about break ins.
- kids have surrogate siblings in the other children in the block and as we have a communal patio area somewhere safe to play
- walking distance to work, school, city centre, beach and 5 playgrounds
Cons have been:
- worrying about neighbours (so far no complaints but you have to think about them when you're singing in the shower
- I was desperate for outside space during the lockdown.
- we're doing lots of renovation work but are limited, can't extend. Instead we've done an attic conversion so it's like a duplex.
All the above plus needing to pay to extend the lease if it doesn't have a long enough term left to appeal to buyers and be mortgageable. If you can afford it, buy a house. That said because of the issues above, you can get more square foot for your money.
I'm a Conveyancer and personally would never buy a Leasehold property. As pp said the costs and lack of control and the problems that occur from unscrupulous management companies and problems with other owners or occupiers are way too familiar to me.
I would NEVER buy a flat again.
Lost about £50k when I sold it - market just crashed. Everyone wants them when they're new and snazzy and an 'apartment' When they're 'second hand' they're worthless.
Maintenance fees were a joke. When you do sell it you also have to PAY the leaseholder just to sell. No garden. You can't renovate really (you try getting tradesman to redo a kitchen 3 floors up)
Pros - hmm. I suppose it felt quite safe (burglar wise)
but massive con - felt UNSAFE fire wise.
Managing agents. Shitty managing agents! Also, if something goes wrong with a communal area or the roof etc, you're beholden to shitty managing agents to sort it out and taking a looong time about it.
Be careful about flats that are in converted houses, as many of them have been converted without installing sound proofing between the floors. The noise can be terrible. Also, in another one that I used to live in, there was one household that were constantly using the garden and they basically intimidated everyone else into not being able to use it very much. So make sure you speak to the neighbours before buying.
You never own the land it’s on so you have to lay ground rent and possibly other charges over which you have no control.
You can probably get a house for the same price, possibly smaller but still...
If your upstairs neighbour has a leak it will probably be your leak too
You have more chance of problems with other people because you will be closer to more other people than if in a house
People ringing every bell to get hold of someone, if that person doesn’t answer
Possibly no outside space ( could be a plus if your not a gardener)
Come resale - you may be up against lots of other people who are selling within the block/area
Flats are attractive because they are usually cheaper but they are fraught with problems. Obviously there are exceptions to this,
Try and avoid ground floor-floods!
In a heatwave, you don’t have the option of sleeping downstairs. But a smaller place should mean less cleaning.
If your upstairs neighbour has a leak it will probably be your leak too
Yep, and you should try and find out the ownership/situation of the flat above you. I've now known two different people who bought a flat, the flat above leaked into theirs, but the flat above had tenants and was owned by one of those types of awful landlords who refused to fix anything so the problem went on and on.
I also know of some flats down the road from here where they're on Airbnb and marketed towards "party" people, which is causing all sorts of ongoing noise disturbances for people nearby. I know you could get that with a house too, but imagine if you lived in the same building as the party flat.
I bought a flat rather than a house and I have a long list of gripes about it:
-Disagreements with the neighbours about the use/maintenance of the communal areas
- putting up with other people's mess/smells in the communal areas
- other neighbours not paying their share of the fees and there not being enough money there for maintenance work because some people don't pay up
- hearing people in the stairs/lift early in the morning/late at night
-noise from all sides and above and below
-limited outside space
-lack of anonymity, everyone knows everyone elses business and knows when you come and go because you can hear everything
-some neighbours may have questionable friends who have access to the communal areas and could potentially realise when you are not home and try to gain access to your flat.
I love our flat and neighbours and garden but:
- management companies can go eat a bag of dicks (see also: service charges)
- lovely neighbours can leave, terrible ones can move in
- issues around communal areas/maintenance/cleaning
- paying to extend leasehold
- inability to physically extend the property
Depends very much on the flat, my DH used to live in a 2 up 2 down flat.
All the flats had their own front doors, own bit of gardens, there was plenty of parking on the quiet road outside, and it was quite old so thick walls and large rooms, it was great!
Also, not all flats have service charges, flat rate maintenance fees, and I don't think theres leaseholds in Scotand either?
Are you my neighbour ? 😁
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