15 Jul Buying a Leasehold property – what you need to know
One of the best things about our area is the fact that we have huge variety of properties. As one of the leading independent estate agents in Colnbrook and the surrounding areas we recognise that our clients are really spoilt for choice. It’s no wonder our area is so popular – not only are we a stone’s throw from airports and major motorways, but we also have the biggest industrial estate in Europe and the commute into central London is just half an hour.
Whether you are looking for a flat as your first home or a small bungalow in which to retire the chances are, we can find something for you.
With all this choice you can imagine we’ve seen and solved most problems you can come across in the property market. We’ve investigated every issue, found solutions for every conundrum and answered every question.
One of the most common questions we are asked is regarding leasehold. There seems to be a nationwide misunderstanding of what it actually means and what buying a property like a flat or maisonette under a leasehold agreement entails.
So we’re here to demystify this mysterious clause. With our frequently asked questions and answers. If you have any further questions about anything in this article please drop us a line on 01753 683000 or email us.
What is a leasehold property?
Leasehold is one of the most common ways of owning a dwelling which is within a building (often made up of a number of separate ‘dwellings’). Flats, maisonettes and apartments are the best example as they are often found in blocks. Leasehold means that you have exclusive ownership of the right to occupy the property for the duration of the lease. This could be anything from 99 to 999 years. Before making any decisions to buy, ensure that you are clear on how long is left on the lease – your estate agent and solicitor will be able to help you.
Do Service Charges apply to leasehold properties?
They certainly do. The service charge is your share of the maintenance costs for the building in which your dwelling is situated. It pays for things like any communal areas and/or services like swimming pools, reception areas, concierge and general maintenance. The charge is usually paid annually and will vary depending on the facilities.
What is ground rent and will I have to pay it?
If you buy a leasehold, yes – you will have to pay ground rent. This is a payment to the land owner upon which the building is built – essentially the landlord. The cost of ground rent can vary and can often be subject to fluctuations so, make sure you speak to your solicitor to clarify any changes and additional costs.
Can I make alterations to my leasehold property?
This is entirely dependent on the individual lease agreement. Some leases will state that you can’t make any alterations without the consent of the freeholder/landlord. Before you buy, make sure you know every piece of information in your agreement and check with the management agent or directly with the landlord – so that all parties are clear.
Can I sublet a leasehold property?
Again this is specific to the building’s lease agreement. Some leases could outright forbid subletting. Other leases may require you to gain consent from the landlord/freeholder and others may have no restrictions. If you are planning on subletting at any point you need to thoroughly check the terms of the lease.
Can my lease expire?
Yes it can, although it shouldn’t. Like all tenancies there is a beginning and an end. When looking to purchase a leasehold property, ensure you enquire as to how long is left on the lease at the earliest possible moment. Your estate agent or solicitor will be able to give you all of the necessary information.
If you are interested in moving to our area make sure you get in touch to see if we can help. As one of the leading independent estate agents in Colnbrook and the surrounding area we are location experts and are always happy to talk you through your property options. You can contact us on 01753 683000 or email us. You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Image credit: arfa adam