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Barclays deemed 4th floor flat close to Central London to have no sustainable resale potential

I'm a first-time buyer in London and have recently made an offer on a two-bedroom top-floor flat in the same development where I am currently renting. The property is located in a highly desirable area in Zone 2, West London, with excellent access to the tube, schools, and easy commutes to Central and East London (just 15 minutes to Oxford Street by bus).

Despite the need for cosmetic work, particularly as it was previously rented, I find the top-floor location in a five-story building (ground + four floors) appealing due to its quiet atmosphere. However, Barclays declined my mortgage application, citing that the property doesn't meet their lending criteria. Their explanation states that the flat's resale potential is considered unsustainable because it's in a five-story block without an elevator.

Here's their exact explanation:

We have received the Valuation report and noted that the property is not suitable for Lending. The property is unsuitable for security due to property is a flat in a 5 storey block which is not considered to have sustainable resale potential therefore the property cannot be recommended for mortgage purposes. which is outside our lending policy. If a new property is found then details can be updated through our online application system. 

This decision perplexes me, especially as the four flights of stairs seem reasonable, with potential concerns mainly for older individuals or those with very young children. 

Am I overlooking something, or is this property indeed a questionable investment?

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Comments

  • Talk to a couple of mortgage brokers.  Suspect other lenders may be less fussy.
  • kingstreet
    kingstreet Posts: 38,606
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    edited 21 December 2023 at 11:59AM
    It's pretty much standard across the board. Blocks over four storeys must have a lift. Barclays is not out on its own in this regard.
    I am a mortgage broker. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.
  • hazyjo
    hazyjo Posts: 15,462
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    They have to protect their investment. If you don't meet the payments and they're forced to sell, they don't want to risk it taking months or making a loss. Plus they worry you might not be able to sell if/when you need/choose to.

    Totally understand - many would not consider 4 flights of stairs (including me).
    2023 wins: *must start comping again!*
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,319
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    edited 21 December 2023 at 12:55PM
    Fourth floor is getting unusually high up with no lift. Probably not unmortgageable (especially in London), you'd be better to go via a broker who can advise on which lenders are more suitable, rather than applying directly to Barclays (assuming that's what's happened).

    But I expect it would put off more than just buyers who can't manage the stairs.
  • It's pretty much standard across the board. Blocks over four storeys must have a lift. Barclays is not out on its own in this regard.
    So that means that all of the 20 plus fourth floor flats in this development, which was build in 1938, are unmortgageable?
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,319
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    It's pretty much standard across the board. Blocks over four storeys must have a lift. Barclays is not out on its own in this regard.
    So that means that all of the 20 plus fourth floor flats in this development, which was build in 1938, are unmortgageable?
    They'll certainly have more difficulties than other properties.

    And bear in mind that lenders' criteria change from time to time - so just because they currently have mortgages doesn't mean that they'd qualify for one now.
  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 21,115
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    It is not just the occupants coming to and fro ( could be a good fitness regime) there is also delivery drivers where some will just dump a parcel in the foyer. Even more difficult what about removal people or people delivering sofas, washing machines. Probably extra charges every time.
  • kingstreet
    kingstreet Posts: 38,606
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    edited 21 December 2023 at 2:30PM
    It's pretty much standard across the board. Blocks over four storeys must have a lift. Barclays is not out on its own in this regard.
    So that means that all of the 20 plus fourth floor flats in this development, which was build in 1938, are unmortgageable?
    I wouldn't like to speculate. If I had such an enquiry I would research the available options as that is what pays the bills.

    What does your broker say?
    I am a mortgage broker. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,319
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    there is also delivery drivers where some will just dump a parcel in the foyer. Even more difficult what about removal people or people delivering sofas, washing machines. Probably extra charges every time.
    3rd floor flats with no lift are pretty commonplace in urban Scotland, but I'm not aware of any regular surcharges for deliveries etc (though I expect movers would charge more) or couriers refusing to come upstairs. Doubt 4th floor really matters from that point of view.
  • It's pretty much standard across the board. Blocks over four storeys must have a lift. Barclays is not out on its own in this regard.
    So that means that all of the 20 plus fourth floor flats in this development, which was build in 1938, are unmortgageable?
    I wouldn't like to speculate. If I had such an enquiry I would research the available options as that is what pays the bills.

    What does your broker say?
    I'm working with a broker and even he was surprised that this became an issue, considering the property's location in London. He mentioned experiencing mortgage refusals from lenders based on seemingly arbitrary reasons, such as proximity to a take away restaurant that might occasionally cause the area to smell?!

    I'm optimistic that this might be another instance of subjective judgment by the surveyor. Maybe I shouldn't be?
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