Selling a flat – Unexpected costs

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If you own a flat and want to sell it then you need to remember that the process will be more complicated than it would be with a freehold house.

As a flat owner you will probably pay a ground rent to your landlord who owns the building where your flat is.In addition you will probably pay an annual fee or “service charge” together with all the other flat owners to cover the cost of repair and maintenance of the external structure of the building and any communal areas such as halls, stairways, parking areas or communal gardens.You will also probably pay your share of the cost of insuring the building as a whole which is also usually dealt with by the landlord or management company.

When you come to sell your flat your buyers solicitors will want to see copies of all of the paperwork relating to the ground rent, service charge and insurance.These days rather than a ramshackle collection of paperwork that flat sellers have remembered to keep over the years it is usual for a standard questionnaire to be sent to the landlord and/or management company who will then provide all of the standard information required and copies of the relevant paperwork.

Whilst this is good in many ways there are two things you should bear in mind.First of all different landlords and management companies respond at different speeds to requests for this information and therefore the sooner it is asked for the better.If you can let your solicitor have all the relevant contact information as soon as possible, then the process can be commenced promptly.

Secondly, there will be a fee to pay to your landlord and/or managing agent.These fees vary widely but are likely to be in the hundreds of pounds.

Remember to budget for these when you are working out the cost of moving.

For advice on this and other Residential Property issues, please contact Partner and Head of Residential Property Chris Pease.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.