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Is there a way of finding our how many properties in a block are privately owned?

(12 Posts)
lalalonglegs Tue 20-Sep-11 14:14:10

I'm thinking about buying a flat to do up in a LA block - I was speaking to a mortgage adviser who told me that it is difficult to get funding on flats that are in blocks that are less than 50% privately owned which would obviously make a difference when I came to sell on. How does one find out what the proportion of privately-owned flats is?

OpinionatedMum Tue 20-Sep-11 14:23:01

Have you asked the local council?

OpinionatedMum Tue 20-Sep-11 14:25:50

Failing that ask a resident. The worst they could do is tell you to fuck off.

minipie Tue 20-Sep-11 14:42:06

You could try looking on zoopla or nethouseprices for sold prices of flats? If a flat has been sold then it must be privately owned. Only goes back to the 90s though so sales before then won't show up.

AgentProvocateur Tue 20-Sep-11 15:36:02

Can I give you a cautionary tale? My DB bought an ex-LA flat in a four-in-a-block. Only one was still owned by the LA, but the other 3 paid a fortune for communal repairs - eg, the whole front of the block got re-rendered - because the LA did it and charged the three owner-occupiers. They didn't get the chance to arrange their own repair at a decent price.

He sold it, and swore that he'd never buy a flat where any were LA owned again.

lalalonglegs Tue 20-Sep-11 16:03:38

If there were three of them that owned the flats, surely they could have clubbed together and bought share of freehold? Anyway, there doesn't seem to be any major works planned for this one - it's a major work in itself. I just want to do it up and sell on. The council aren't very helpful and, as you say, the sold prices sites only go back to the late 90s - I expect at least some of them must have been sold under right-to-buy in the 80s. I'll keep badgering the council - I suppose I could make a Freedom of Information Act request but never done that before and it sounds a bit complex...

Thanks for your replies.

AgentProvocateur Tue 20-Sep-11 16:17:02

Sorry - I should have said that we're in Scotland. We don't have freeholds etc.

lalalonglegs Tue 20-Sep-11 16:22:26

Oooh, how interesting - how do you do it? And, apart from your brother's experience, is it generally a better system to the English one?

Meglet Tue 20-Sep-11 16:31:23

But won't some privately owned houses be rented out (or am I being thick?).

My neighbours own their house but are abroad so there's a changeover every 6 months.

minipie Tue 20-Sep-11 16:41:43

Yes but they are still privately owned from the point of view of the mortgage company. I think that mortgage companies just have issues where the council still owns the place.

AgentProvocateur Tue 20-Sep-11 16:43:18

Well, in tenements (typically about 8 flats) there's usually a firm of factors involved. Each owner pays an amount per quarter, and the factor carries out communal repairs, and, for a big repair, such as a roof, they'd get quotes in and arrange the work. The problem is that if one owner refuses to contribute towards a large repair, I don't think the factors can legally make them pay. Years ago, when I lived in a flat, five of us paid more than our share because one person didn't want a door entry system.

In some tenements, where everyone has lived there for ages and knows each other, one person takes charge and they have a communal repair fund.

Generally, factors charge a lot for doing not very much, and I've yet to find anyone who has a good word to say about them.

The buying process is different too - until recently, houses and flats in desirable areas were sold for "offers over". You'd put in a price, and then at a closing date, you'd find out if you'd bid the highest price. It got ridiculous in some parts of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with properties going for more than 25% above the asking price - so, not a great system. But at least there's no gazumping.

lalalonglegs Tue 20-Sep-11 19:10:09

Hmm, not sure that that sounds a great deal better than freehold system - still room to be exploited by unscrupulous managing agents or freeholders. I'd be put off share of freehold for the reasons you said - in a small block, if one person digs their heels in then you could find yourself in a stalemate or having to subsidise them.

I knew a little bit about "offers over" - I always thought it sounded worse than the English system to be honest, a way of laying out a ton of money on surveys and mortgage fees with no guarantee of buying at the end.

There must be a way of buying and co-owning that isn't quite as painful as the UK methods...

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