To Buy Or Not To Buy

I have been offered the freehold on my house, should I buy it?

There has been a lot of publicity in the media recently about leasehold property and the outrageous charges made by freeholders and as a result we have noticed a marked increase in clients looking to buy the freehold to their properties. They are concerned that they too will face large charges or increases in their ground rent, but it is not always relevant.

If you own a leasehold property, you are leasing the land for a fixed term from the freeholder and paying an annual ground rent. There are usually conditions in the lease about what you can and can’t do with the property and they often include provisions that you need the freeholders consent to make structural alterations. Generally, the freeholder will make a charge for providing the consent.

If you decide to buy the freehold, you will also be expected to pay the freeholders legal costs as well as your own, so you need to decide if it is value for money.

In the Lancashire area, we have lots of leasehold properties owned on long leases, (999 years) with nominal ground rents which cannot be increased. In these circumstances, it is worth getting legal advice about what you will actually be gaining if you buy the freehold.

The issues around leasehold houses tend to be with new build properties, which have been sold on much shorter leases (125 years) with ground rents which start in the hundreds, with a provision for the ground rent to increase.

Those that are linked to RPI (retail price index) are less serious, but some double after a number of years.

If you buy the freehold in these circumstances, the benefits will be:
• No expensive costs to extend the lease
• No ongoing ground rent payments
• You won’t necessarily need to pay fees for future consents

If you are considering buying your freehold, the residential property team at Forbes is able to provide the guidance you need to make an informed decision.

Our specialist solicitors will guide you through the process offering practical, straightforward advice to eliminate any stress and ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. We offer a fully comprehensive service and look after every legal matter relating to your home.

Contact Michelle Thompson by email: michelle.thompson@forbessolicitors.co.uk or call 01254 222399

For legal advice that is straight to the point:
twitter: @forbessolicitor
www.forbessolicitors.co.uk

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