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Full structural survey on flat - advice needed

(12 Posts)
Esbm2015 Tue 13-Feb-18 17:45:28


We are in the process of buying a flat which has a 50% share of freehold with the other flat in the property.

It is a Victorian conversion and as we would have to share 50% of any repairs we wanted to get a full structural survey.

The surveyors have come back and said as the other flat is occupied they could only do a homebuyers report on the flat we’re buying.

I’m obviously anxious to be buying into part of a property that I know only half the story of.

Has anyone come across the same issue? How did you tackle it if so?

Would it be considered rude to ask the owner of the other flat to allow the surveyor in so the whole property can be assessed?

Many thanks

Esbm2015 Tue 13-Feb-18 17:47:17

Forgot to mention we are looking to purchase the top floor flat. Other flat occupies ground floor.

Glamourgates Tue 13-Feb-18 18:04:49

Same but bought nearly 20 years ago in London. These are quite rare so I am guessing you could be in the same area.

I would doubt you would need a full structural. Anything major would be flagged up with a homebuyers.

The only thing you need to do is make sure you have the same insurance provider as your neighbour so there's no dispute if anything happens.

You will also have a lease of your own freehold so make sure your solicitor understands this. Ours was a bit hopeless.

Bluelady Tue 13-Feb-18 18:06:15

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I reckon you're probably OK in the top flat. Presumably the surveyor has checked the roof and that would be the major thing that would impact on you. If the bottom flat has damp it won't affect yours.

I now prepare to be shot down in flames!

Esbm2015 Tue 13-Feb-18 18:23:05

Many thanks both for your replies. I guess my only other concern is subsidence and whether a homebuyers would pick this up with just looking at the top flat? FTB so just generally nervous! :-)

DelphiniumBlue Tue 13-Feb-18 18:30:05

Get more info from your solicitor. You could be jointly responsible for the whole building, or you might be responsible for the top half, including the roof, and your neighbours responsible for the bottom half. Check the insurance arrangements.
And if your surveyor really needs access to the other flat, then you'll have to ask the seller to arrange it.

KittyKK Tue 13-Feb-18 18:30:12

Don’t trust any survey 100%. I’m pretty sure homebuyers is the best you can get with a flat.

Also do your own assessment of the property. The first flat we bought had dreadful water pressure that I didn’t think to test before buying, the second flat didn’t have any heating in the second bedroom (wasn’t flagged in the homebuyers survey and I didn’t notice until we moved in: expensive and disruptive to put right). Also, try to find out what sound insulation is in the flooring...once bought a conversion, which was absolutely awful for noise from below!!

priority9 Tue 13-Feb-18 19:07:36

You can't get a full structural with a flat unless the other flat owners are willing to let your surveyor in. You could ask for any projected spending

Bubbinsmakesthree Tue 13-Feb-18 19:16:09

I'm pretty sure we got a full structural survey when we bought our flat in the same circumstances. If it depends on getting co-operation from the downstairs flat then that's not a bad test to carry out - you need to have a good cooperative relationship with your neighbours when you share freehold responsibility and if they are obstructive you need to know.

As previous poster mentioned you will have a lease in addition to the freehold share - your solicitor should check time remaining on the lease as they would with any other leasehold. When we bought ours there was a short period left on the lease - as we were also the joint freeholders there was no problem in extending it, just updating the documentation, but it is still important.

Esbm2015 Tue 13-Feb-18 19:24:34

Lots of great advice thanks! Delphinium Blue will definitely get solicitor to check.

KittyKK silly question but would surveyor be able to tell me about the sound insulation in the flooring? It seems pretty thick, good quality carpet down.

Bubbins you make a good point about testing cooperation - and the lease has 999 years from 1985 I believe so that's OK.

Even if solicitor comes back and says we're responsible for top half only do you think prudent to get a full survey if owner of bottom floor flat agrees or do you think a waste of time?

Bluelady Tue 13-Feb-18 20:59:30

If you're only liable for the top half I wouldn't bother. But that's me ...

Esbm2015 Thu 15-Feb-18 08:40:40

Thanks everyone for your help. We’ve just got hold of the lease from the solicitors to take a look through and have been in touch with surveyor so will see exactly what we are responsible for

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