We unexpectedly looked at a flat today. It's for sale leasehold. It definitely has the potential for extending into the loft space but as its freehold we'd need the permission of the freeholder.
Do you think that's something we could do before offering on the flat? I have no idea about what we do now we've seen a place we like! (FTB)
How many leaseholders are in the flats? Is it a house conversion?who is the freeholder?
There are two flats but I don't know anything about the freeholder. Excuse the stupidity but would the estate agent have anything to do with the freeholder as part of the sale?
Hi, I would ask a conveyancer to look at the title, the lease and the freehold. If the title is registered this can be done without anyone else needing to know. Not all leases are drafted to include the loft void, the terms and consents required should all be set out there. When you are more informed you can make a decision as to how to play it from there; a professional freeholder may not enter into negotiations with you prior to purchase, a shared freehold situation may just involve sounding out the other flat owners. Equally you can make an offer and wait for your conveyancer to receive these documents and advise you on the terms, you won't be bound to the transaction and can change your mind. However, if taking this route and the property is being marketed by an estate agent you'll probably find yourself being pestered to take their mortgage advice before the offer is passed on as being 'viable'.
A leasehold flat would not normally include the loft space. You can't "extend" into the loft without buying the loft from the freeholder or by obtaining his permission to use it. If the freeholder is unwilling to sell, he could allow you the use of the loft, but realistically this would be for storage purposes rather than, say, extending or converting the loft space into habitable accommodation. You say that there is only two flats, so I'm assuming this is a converted house. Is the other flat owner the freeholder and/or would you be buying a share of the freehold? Please be aware that the estate agent would have no knowledge of the legalities. Is it the freeholder who is selling or a leaseholder?. Your solicitor/conveyancer would check the title deeds and advise you of your options.
Thank you for the responses. I, unfortunately, don't know the answers to some of the questions you mentioned so I need to find out. It's only being sold leasehold with no share of the freehold.
Your responses have actually made me realise I need to learn more about what you're buying when buying leasehold.
Whether we put an offer in isn't dependent on being able to extend into the loft so it wouldn't be the end of the world if we couldn't.
Thanks for your help.
I would speak to some local conveyancers and ask the one who is forthcoming with advice to assist you in checking out the title. Money spent at this stage will be deducted from the overall conveyancing charges if you go ahead and could save you a small fortune in searches and survey fees if the advice means you don't proceed to an offer. Good luck with it, a good conveyancer will guide you through it :-)
You can buy the leasehold details from land registry for about £3. That will detail any restrictive covenants and any rights over then roof space. A maisonette we own leasehold, for example, we own the loft (as well as duty to repair) but like any leasehold if we wanted to make any structural change we would have to get permission of the freeholder. The freeholder would be detailed in the lease on Land Registry. I think they can also charge you a percentage of uplift to the value it might give as well as an admin fee to consider the request. The freeholder also has to take into account the 'quiet enjoyment' of other leaseholders so depends how extending into the loft space impinged on others. Are there other similar properties nearby who have made the change - that might give you an idea of how possible it is - often nearby properties of the same layout are often owned by the same freeholder.
Would you be responsible for the roof if you had rights over the roof space? I know two people with flats - one (purpose-built) isn't supposed to use the roof space but isn't responsible for the roof. The other one can use the roof space but is responsible for the roof itself (so if it needs replacing ...)
Fizrim it all depends on what it says in the lease - leases come in all shapes and sizes. As they can throw up a lot of additional issues and questions is another reason a leasehold purchase usually involves a higher conveyance / solicitor's fee.
Sorry I didn't get back. I own a leasehold flat, mid terrace conversion. It was once ow ex by the people upstairs (they had them both before they sold me one) and they were the freeholders. They were very good, didn't charge me for buildings insurance.
I had no problem getting a mortgage but when they finally did sell the flat upstairs the new buyer's mortgage company wanted the freehold to become a joint freehold between myself and the new buyer. The seller paid for my legal costs as it meant they couldn't sell without doing this and I now have more control over the property. I pay half the buildings insurance and had to pay half the roof replacement when it got a leak even though i'm downstairs. If they wanted to use the loft space to extend I'd have to look at the implications of that but in principle I wouldn't mind.
If you do this though you need to understand your responsibilities etc.
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