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    • HannahSnape
    • By HannahSnape 12th Jul 18, 5:29 PM
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    HannahSnape
    Leasehold purchase restrictions
    • #1
    • 12th Jul 18, 5:29 PM
    Leasehold purchase restrictions 12th Jul 18 at 5:29 PM
    (I've had an awful lot of help from previous posts, so trying my luck again with more questions - TIA!)

    I’ve (possibly rather naively, I’m a first time buyer) got to the ‘the solicitor has sent pre-sale enquiries to the seller’ stage of buying what I was told by the EA is a ‘share of freehold’ top floor flat: I’ve been sent hundreds of pages of info to read through, some of which is rather alarming:
    1) -Apparently share of freehold doesn’t exist?! (the lease is 987 years, or something like)
    2) - I don’t own the loft (despite that being on the EAs webpage AND I was told by them that I did)
    3) - There are SO. MANY. RESTRICTIONS. Things like decorating, pets, use of plant pots (!), allowing access – I suppose what I want to know is, is that normal? It kind of feels like a rental agreement, more than a house purchase!

    I feel a bit put off by all this, and I don’t want to get in a situation where by I can’t even switch my TV on after 10pm… Please help! Are these things normal? Am I overreacting? I don’t know anyone who owns a flat, so have no experience in this kind of thing.
Page 1
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 12th Jul 18, 5:45 PM
    • 1,943 Posts
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    NeilCr
    • #2
    • 12th Jul 18, 5:45 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Jul 18, 5:45 PM
    You are talking about restrictive covenants. There are common in flats and new builds

    https://www.inbrief.co.uk/property-law/restrictive-covenants/

    You are a bit at the mercy of neighbours - some covenants get ignored - some drift away - some get resurrected if one of your neighbours takes offence (rightly or wrongly) and complains. Many are there to make the property easier to sell for the developer

    I lived in a flat like that and it was just about being aware of them. You didn't have to turn off the tv at 10.00 but, similarly, you didn't have it blaring out etc. My block was fine and nobody caused any rucks - but they are there so you do have to consider they may become an issue. You'll have to decide if that is a risk you are prepared to take

    Your solicitor should be able to advise on share of freehold. If it's been advertised it's likely correct.

    Share of freehold means that you have a share of the communal areas - ground the block is built on etc. The flat, itself, will still be leasehold. The loft may well be part of the common areas. The EA can only go on what the vendor tells them
    Last edited by NeilCr; 12-07-2018 at 6:17 PM.
    • Boler1985
    • By Boler1985 12th Jul 18, 10:11 PM
    • 181 Posts
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    Boler1985
    • #3
    • 12th Jul 18, 10:11 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Jul 18, 10:11 PM
    Sounds like you're overreacting to me. Regardless of the share of freehold you will be buying the Leasehold - what makes you think SoF is not included?

    Which restrictions do you object to?
    • HannahSnape
    • By HannahSnape 13th Jul 18, 10:22 AM
    • 7 Posts
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    HannahSnape
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:22 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:22 AM
    You are talking about restrictive covenants. There are common in flats and new builds

    You are a bit at the mercy of neighbours...
    Originally posted by NeilCr

    Thank you so much for your helpful reply and link. I guess that’s kind of what I wanted to know – whether these things ARE normal in a flat or not.

    Do you have any idea about the loft, or who might own it in a case like this? The flat I’m trying to buy is the second floor of a semi-detached house, so ‘my’ flat has sole access to the loft – and it was one of the features that most attracted me to the property (I have a lot of stuff!), so I’m worried now that whoever actually owns it might suddenly command me to stop using it!
    • HannahSnape
    • By HannahSnape 13th Jul 18, 10:25 AM
    • 7 Posts
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    HannahSnape
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:25 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:25 AM
    Sounds like you're overreacting to me. Regardless of the share of freehold you will be buying the Leasehold - what makes you think SoF is not included?

    Which restrictions do you object to?
    Originally posted by Boler1985

    I suppose it’s not the restrictions so much, more things like: ‘maintaining, repairing and decorating in accordance with the lease’, ‘the landlord has the right to inspect….’, ‘the landlord may terminate the lease….’, ‘decorate every 7th year…’ – are things like this normal? I’ve never owned any property in my life, and it isn’t as straight forward as I thought!
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 13th Jul 18, 10:31 AM
    • 8,046 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:31 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:31 AM
    I suppose it’s not the restrictions so much, more things like: ‘maintaining, repairing and decorating in accordance with the lease’, ‘the landlord has the right to inspect….’, ‘the landlord may terminate the lease….’, ‘decorate every 7th year…’ – are things like this normal? I’ve never owned any property in my life, and it isn’t as straight forward as I thought!
    Originally posted by HannahSnape
    Yes, it's all pretty normal. Your solicitor should be advising you on what is or isn't normal - unless they've flagged up something as bizarre then you can assume it's all pretty standard stuff.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 13th Jul 18, 10:32 AM
    • 6,614 Posts
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    eddddy
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:32 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:32 AM
    Do you have any idea about the loft, or who might own it in a case like this? The flat I’m trying to buy is the second floor of a semi-detached house, so ‘my’ flat has sole access to the loft – and it was one of the features that most attracted me to the property (I have a lot of stuff!), so I’m worried now that whoever actually owns it might suddenly command me to stop using it!
    Originally posted by HannahSnape
    Typically, it would be the freeholder that 'owned' the loft...

    ...unless they have leased it to somebody else.

    You could make enquiries about buying a lease on the loft from the freeholder, as well as buying the lease of the flat. But it may be expensive, especially if the freeholder suspects that you want to convert it into living space.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 13th Jul 18, 10:41 AM
    • 6,614 Posts
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    eddddy
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:41 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 18, 10:41 AM
    I suppose it’s not the restrictions so much, more things like: ‘maintaining, repairing and decorating in accordance with the lease’, ‘the landlord has the right to inspect….’, ‘the landlord may terminate the lease….’, ‘decorate every 7th year…’ – are things like this normal? I’ve never owned any property in my life, and it isn’t as straight forward as I thought!
    Originally posted by HannahSnape
    It's fairly normal, and many people would see this as a benefit - because all the leases in the building will typically be the same.

    So, because of the covenants in everyone's leases, the whole building should be well kept, and neighbours should be considerate etc.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 13th Jul 18, 11:22 AM
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    rtho782
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 18, 11:22 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 18, 11:22 AM
    Personally I would not buy with all these restrictive covenants, but I guess to each his own.

    Why the hell should I be forced to decorate (INSIDE my flat?? Where nobody can see?) every 7th year.
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    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 13th Jul 18, 11:40 AM
    • 1,943 Posts
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    NeilCr
    Personally I would not buy with all these restrictive covenants, but I guess to each his own.

    Why the hell should I be forced to decorate (INSIDE my flat?? Where nobody can see?) every 7th year.
    Originally posted by rtho782
    As you say personal choice. It suits me but my partner would agree with you.

    In terms of the decoration of the inside of the house that's a weird one. We have it, too, but, practically it's impossible to police even if anyone wanted to. Many covenants drift away over the years and a consensus develops amongst the residents.

    The covenants that get quoted, used are in 99% of the cases ones which are apparent and/or directly effect someone. Sky dishes/commercial vehicles/ running a business from home etc
    Last edited by NeilCr; 13-07-2018 at 11:46 AM.
    • sal_III
    • By sal_III 13th Jul 18, 12:17 PM
    • 329 Posts
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    sal_III
    1) Share of freehold means that your flat is still leasehold, but instead of 3rd party owning the freehold, you and the other leaseholders each own share of the freehold and can make joint decisions about your relationship.

    2) You don't even own your flat, effectively you "rent" it from the freeholder for the Lease duration - i.e. 987 years. You have to enquire your solicitor regarding the legal status of the loft.

    3) Most of these are bog standard and if you are looking to buy a flat they will be ever present. The good news is that they are the same for every other flat in the building and make dealing with "nightmare neighbours" a bit easier. Also the nonsense ones are more or less ignored, the only one that can hold you up to them is the freeholder, which i part own, so unless the majority of the leaseholders decide to uphold one of them it's like they don't exist.
    • HannahSnape
    • By HannahSnape 13th Jul 18, 4:50 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    HannahSnape
    As you say personal choice. It suits me but my partner would agree with you.

    In terms of the decoration of the inside of the house that's a weird one. We have it, too, but, practically it's impossible to police even if anyone wanted to. Many covenants drift away over the years and a consensus develops amongst the residents.

    The covenants that get quoted, used are in 99% of the cases ones which are apparent and/or directly effect someone. Sky dishes/commercial vehicles/ running a business from home etc
    Originally posted by NeilCr

    Have you ever had anyone come in to check the decor?! That's one of the bits that I find the strangest... I said to my solicitor it sounds more like a rental agreement clause!
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 13th Jul 18, 5:13 PM
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    NeilCr
    Have you ever had anyone come in to check the decor?! That's one of the bits that I find the strangest... I said to my solicitor it sounds more like a rental agreement clause!
    Originally posted by HannahSnape
    No.

    I am a director of our estate and it wouldn't cross our minds to start demanding to see the inside of residents properties. Even if we did we wouldn't have right of entry. And there is no way that you would take it to court to try and force the issue.

    That's one covenant I've never got my head round!
    • SouthLondonUser
    • By SouthLondonUser 13th Jul 18, 5:25 PM
    • 539 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    SouthLondonUser
    Some restrictive covenants can be crazy. I once rented in a block of flats with a similar setup to the one you describe. Renting short term was fine, but I'd never consider buying there. Some stuff made no sense at all: works could be carried out only by contractors within a list approved by the freeholder (what if you don't obey this? Not clear) and works on Saturdays could only be carried out between 8am and noon. If you want to limit the noise, well, 8am on a Saturday is when many people will be resting!

    Go through the restrictions with a fine comb and make sure you can live with them. Also, do consider how they'll affect the resale value of the property: you may be fine with those restrictions, but how many of your potential buyers won't?
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