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Lease advice on loft ownership

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
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  • Tom99Tom99 Forumite
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    The premises is defined in the lease as ‘upper floor flat’ but there is no loft space on the floor plan. The loft is only accessible from the top floor flat
    via a small hatch. It’s not being used at present as the flat is being sold empty. There is nothing linked to the downstairs flat such as water tanks etc in the loft.

    Another EA previously mentioned to us that often old leases (this is from the 80s) don’t make mention of the loft space as part of the demise as it wasn’t deemed that useable or valuable when the lease was drawn up.

    Anyway it seems that the loft is not defined as part of the premises so I think I will make some further enquiries with the freeholder if possible.

    Thanks to everyone who took time to
    reply!
    The only way you can be sure of being able to extend into the loft space would be to make your purchase dependent on a lease variation so that the loft is included in the demise and with freeholder permission to do the loft conversion and I doubt very much that would be possible.

    Until you have the freeholders permission then any loft conversion is going to be entirely at their discretion and at any price they care to name. Even if your lease included the loft space it will not include the roof structure and you are going to have to break through that to create windows.
  • Thanks Tom - yes we were prepared that we would probably need to pay the freeholder something for permission to do the work and there would be some element of risk / uncertainty after buying until we submitted the plans for their approval as there is seemingly no set fee for this....

    I had previously seen figures around the 7-10k mark but given that buying a 2 bed flat would be more than that cost even with the building work on top so we weren’t immediately put off... (the mortgage on a one bed flat would less than our current rent so our plan was to spend the first 1-2 years saving to do the work)

    Maybe we are just being a v naive and should leave this one!
  • hb2hb2 Forumite
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    In your situation, I wouldn't buy anywhere unless the lease expressly included the loft and I had written approval from the Freeholder (with the likely costs outlined) as part of the contract. Otherwise I would be afraid that I would buy on the basis of a verbal agreement and then discover that my plans were impossible, or that the Freeholder was asking a lot more than I wanted to pay.

    The other thing is to check the local council's attitude to planning applications first too. No point in agreeing something with the Freeholder and then discovering that the council won't approve further development.
    It's not difficult!
    'Wander' - to walk or move in a leisurely manner.
    'Wonder' - to feel curious.
  • Tom99Tom99 Forumite
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    hb2 wrote: »
    The other thing is to check the local council's attitude to planning applications first too. No point in agreeing something with the Freeholder and then discovering that the council won't approve further development.
    A good point. Flats do not have any permitted development rights so presumably you will need planning permission which you would not need if it was a house.
  • eddddyeddddy Forumite
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    I had previously seen figures around the 7-10k mark but given that buying a 2 bed flat would be more than that cost even with the building work on top so we weren’t immediately put off... (the mortgage on a one bed flat would less than our current rent so our plan was to spend the first 1-2 years saving to do the work)

    A savvy freeholder would look at the 'profit' that you would make from the conversion, and look for a sizeable chunk of that.

    e.g. If the loft conversion would add £100k to the value of the property, but cost £40k to build - that's £60k profit.


    So a valuer might suggest that you should pay the freeholder £30k and so keep £30k profit for yourself. But it would be all down to negotiation.
  • Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    An access hatch for inspection or maintenance is a far cry from usable living space. Consider Planning permission, Building Regulations (fire regs esp.).

    Downstairs leaseholders might well object strongly to paying a half share of maintaining your roof and your roof windows. Or to having more people tramping up more stairs above them.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
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