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Buying Land off the local Council
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# 1
Chick-a-dee
Old 31-08-2010, 8:25 PM
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Default Buying Land off the local Council

Not sure if I'm in the right place, but here goes!

We've rented our back garden off the local council for 9 years (40 pa). We've tried to buy it on numerous occasions, but this request was always turned down.

Now the council want to sell the land to us for 4,000. The land is tiny (approx 4 x 6m). They are openly admitting that this price is inflated to take in to account the value of our property and that to anyone else the price would be considerable lower. A nearby property bought their land, which is about 3 times bigger for just 500 a few years ago!

I've offered them a lower price, but they flatly refused to accept. Now they are saying that we either buy the land for 4K (which we don't have) or it has to be returned back to the adjoining park, so we lose the option to continue renting it!

We're being held to ransom as home owners. We can't afford the price they are demanding, but won't be forced to pay over the odds either. Does any one out there know if they can do this? Surely, this can't be legal to have one price for us and another for anyone else! Also, what can we do - if we don't pay we lose the garden altogether.
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# 2
WestonDave
Old 31-08-2010, 8:54 PM
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You might have a chance if you talk to your local councillor, but council finances are extremely pressurised at present so I can understand to a degree that they may be under pressure to maximise sales value.

If they won't budge you may have to accept that you need to decide whether 4000 is worth paying for having some garden, bearing in mind that having it freehold will add to your property value whereas a total lack of garden (because it is no longer available for rent) might reduce your property value by more than 4000. It may be worth asking your mortgage company if you can extend your mortgage as this amount over a long period should be more affordable.

Hypothetically they haven't necessarily over valued it - at 4000, 40 per year rent represents a 1% return on investment which suggests its about right given current investment returns. That probably isn't intuitively understandable but asset prices often represent the return that they give. It may be that in the past they were happy to dispose of land more cheaply but maybe they feel they can't do that now.

Short of any kind of legal challenge (likely to cost more than the 4k), its their land and they can choose whether to keep it as park, rent it out or sell it for a price they choose, unless there is some kind of corruption etc involved.
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# 3
Chick-a-dee
Old 31-08-2010, 9:03 PM
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Thanks for your reply. I suppose the really annoying thing is that they've openly admitted that they are charging us a higher price than they would anyone else.

We know our local councilor fairly well, so might go down that route first.
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# 4
WestonDave
Old 31-08-2010, 9:06 PM
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The local government ombudsman scheme have a helpline on 0300 061 0614 - they generally only look at things after the council have had a chance to respond to a complaint about unfairness or poor service, but it might be possible to get some advice from them as to whether you might have some scope to complain. However if the land is as I suggest roughly representing a proper asset value its going to be hard in the current climate trying to prove that they should have been generous even if they have in the past.

Good luck, but I think you might have to swallow hard and find a way to scrape up the cash. (maybe tell them you'll take their offer if their legal department do the transfer for you to save you legal costs on top!)
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# 5
ormus
Old 31-08-2010, 9:12 PM
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they can charge whatever they think they can get away with.
id just tell em to take it back.

(im quite surprised at how savvy they are. they are normally thick as planks).
Get some gorm.
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# 6
iamcornholio
Old 31-08-2010, 9:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chick-a-dee View Post

We're being held to ransom as home owners.
So, you would like to buy the land cheap, to increase your property value and for this you want the local rate payers to subsidise the loss of income to the council?

How can that be fair?
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# 7
the_r_sole
Old 01-09-2010, 8:20 AM
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why not just get a friend to buy it for the cheaper price and buy it from the friend?!
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# 8
Chick-a-dee
Old 01-09-2010, 7:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamcornholio View Post
So, you would like to buy the land cheap, to increase your property value and for this you want the local rate payers to subsidise the loss of income to the council?

How can that be fair?
I'm not wanting to buy it cheap, I'm wanting to pay a fair price for it and not have to pay a premium for owning a house!

3 estate agents have also confirmed that owning the land, rather than renting it as I do currently will add no value to the property, only make it more salable. The purchase has nothing to do with adding value to my property, it is about protecting the work that we have done to the garden in terms of landscaping and planting.

Don't judge me by your standards - you know nothing about me, so don't just assume I'm out to get one over on the tax payer!

Last edited by Chick-a-dee; 01-09-2010 at 9:01 PM.
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# 9
Errata
Old 01-09-2010, 8:05 PM
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Ask the EA's to give you a value for your house without a garden and they will tell a different tale. Talk to your local councillor by all means, but you may find that changes nothing. All Local Authorities are cash strapped now and selling off all the assets they can in order to minimise cuts to education, social services etc.
.....................I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...
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# 10
Chick-a-dee
Old 01-09-2010, 8:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Ask the EA's to give you a value for your house without a garden and they will tell a different tale. Talk to your local councillor by all means, but you may find that changes nothing. All Local Authorities are cash strapped now and selling off all the assets they can in order to minimise cuts to education, social services etc.

That's exactly what we're doing. We've got a solicitor dealing with this now who has asked for just that info. The solicitor was amazed that they'd confirmed in writing that they were charging us a higher price than they would do to anyone else. Apparently he's seen quite a lot of this recently with local council land sales, so we're not the only ones to have encountered this.
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# 11
Errata
Old 01-09-2010, 9:05 PM
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Sorry - what do you mean 'anyone else' ?
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# 12
keystone
Old 01-09-2010, 9:44 PM
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Get a valuer (NOT an estate agent) to tell you the value of the land. Its intrinsic value is directly related to the ability to build on it (particularly if it has access to a road) rather than how it might affect the value of your property or providing you with a garden. You'll prolly find out that its value is prolly in the 200/300 area but armed with that you should have a starting point negotiating position. Prolly cost you 50 quid or so.

I bought a piece of land off my neighbour who was selling up a few years ago to straighten out the boundary between our properties. My valuer put a tag of 200 on it. I ended up having to pay 1 a foot but it was worth it. I've ended up with two sets of title deeds too. One for my property as originally purchased showing the boundary as it was then and another for an odd shaped bit of land covering approx 1500 sq ft thats totally surrounded by other parcels of land. IMHO the Council are wrong to make a judgement about the resultant effect on your property value - it should be done on the actual value of the land and they are being greedy. Their financial situation doesn't give them carte blanche to rip off the people that pay their wages!

Just my 2c.

Cheers
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# 13
vaio
Old 02-09-2010, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keystone View Post
……..I bought a piece of land off my neighbour who was selling up a few years ago to straighten out the boundary between our properties. My valuer put a tag of 200 on it. I ended up having to pay 1 a foot but it was worth it. I've ended up with two sets of title deeds too. One for my property as originally purchased showing the boundary as it was then and another for an odd shaped bit of land covering approx 1500 sq ft thats totally surrounded by other parcels of land……..
The council are asking 4k for a bit of land worth 500ish so sort of x8 in valve, you paid 1500 for something valued at 200 so x 7.5 in value. Sounds like the going rate for selling land to a neighbouring land owner is to get it valued and then multiply that by 7.5 or 8.
Quote:
Originally Posted by keystone View Post
………IMHO the Council are wrong to make a judgement about the resultant effect on your property value - it should be done on the actual value of the land and they are being greedy. Their financial situation doesn't give them carte blanche to rip off the people that pay their wages!........
See your point but the other side of that coin is councils duty to maximise the sale price of assets. Personally if my council were involved I’d expect them to extract as much as possible from the OP (who also has the option of carrying on renting or relinquishing the land altogether)

Any valuation must take into account the added value to the new owner should he acquire it. 25 square metres of grazing paddock is worth just about nothing, the same area as a parking space in a posh block of flats in London would rent for 150k a year, it would form half a building plot in my area so be worth about 25k or more.

In the OPs case it provides (or increases) their garden which will have an affect on the value of their property which presumably the council have factored into their offer price.

Similarly, if the acquisition made a “split the garden and build another house” plan possible then the cost should reflect that.

I’d make exactly the same arguments if the boot was on the other foot and it was the council who wanted to buy, say for road-widening. Then the value would not be the value of a strip of scrubby road verge but the loss in value to the house owners property plus some.
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# 14
Inactive
Old 02-09-2010, 2:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chick-a-dee View Post




We're being held to ransom as home owners. We can't afford the price they are demanding, but won't be forced to pay over the odds either. Does any one out there know if they can do this? Surely, this can't be legal to have one price for us and another for anyone else! Also, what can we do - if we don't pay we lose the garden altogether.
Pay up, or lose it, by the sound of things.

The council is duty bound to get the best possible price.
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# 15
keystone
Old 02-09-2010, 7:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaio View Post
The council are asking 4k for a bit of land worth 500ish so sort of x8 in valve, you paid 1500 for something valued at 200 so x 7.5 in value. Sounds like the going rate for selling land to a neighbouring land owner is to get it valued and then multiply that by 7.5 or 8.
Mmm - thats a bit of a stratch really. "Going rate" based on two examples more like a coincidence. In my case the vendors representative originally asked for double what finally I paid. My point is to get an independent valuation otherwise theres no negotiating position.

Quote:
See your point but the other side of that coin is councils duty to maximise the sale price of assets. Personally if my council were involved I’d expect them to extract as much as possible from the OP (who also has the option of carrying on renting or relinquishing the land altogether)
Actually I agree. In this case though, and wev'e only had one side of the story itmust be said, it looks as though the Council are being duplicitous.

Quote:
Any valuation must take into account the added value to the new owner should he acquire it. 25 square metres of grazing paddock is worth just about nothing, the same area as a parking space in a posh block of flats in London would rent for 150k a year, it would form half a building plot in my area so be worth about 25k or more....................Similarly, if the acquisition made a “split the garden and build another house” plan possible then the cost should reflect that.
Yes - hence my point about access for development. In this case it would seem that the Council have attached a fairly arbitrary value and without any consistency.

Quote:
I’d make exactly the same arguments if the boot was on the other foot and it was the council who wanted to buy, say for road-widening. Then the value would not be the value of a strip of scrubby road verge but the loss in value to the house owners property plus some.
I take your point but in the example of my own experience the deal was done prior to the neighbouring property being put on the market and had absolutely zero effect on the sale price.

Cheers
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