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Nightmare Leases

Posted: 20-02-2018

You and your partner have just found your first home; a new build flat in a nice location with one bedroom, a beautiful shared garden and parking. You make your offer, exchange contracts, complete the purchase and move in. Fast forward 3 years, you are expecting your first child and the time has come to move up that property ladder. BOOM! You are not moving anywhere because unfortunately for you your first ideal home is a leasehold nightmare.

As with all things there are pros and cons to buying a leasehold property but before you commit yourself you need to know as much as possible about the lease and the way in which the building/estate of which the property forms part is managed. When buying a leasehold property you should therefore consider the following questions:

1.      How many years are left to run on the lease? If the remaining number of years is nearing the 80 years mark then you need to consider potential costs for increasing the number of years left otherwise you may find it difficult to sell or re-mortgage in the future.

2.      What is the ground rent currently payable and how will the ground rent increase during the term of the lease?

3.      What is the service charge currently payable for the maintenance and repair of common areas and common services utilised by other homeowners in the building?

4.      Is any large increase in the service charge expenditure anticipated?

5.      Has the landlord experienced issues collecting service charge from other homeowners in the building?

6.      Is there anything to suggest that the building of which the property forms part is not being managed well e.g. have there been any disputes between the home owners and the landlord?

With more and more leasehold properties being built and sold you need to be savvy about what you are purchasing and your potential liabilities as the owner of a lease. Therefore in acting for you the questions above, and many more besides, are all things that the experienced solicitors and conveyancers at Sousa Law will enquire about and advise you on so that you can sleep easy knowing that you have made an informed decision about your proposed purchase.

This article does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.