Keywest Estate Agents / Jun 08

Buying a Leasehold Flat in Leicester

If you are considering buying a Leicester flat, it is likely that you will be investing in a leasehold home, but what does this mean and what factors do you need to consider?

Buying a leasehold flat means that you will own the apartment but the land will still be owned by a freeholder. You will also only be allowed to occupy the property while a valid lease is in place. This contrasts with a freehold, which means you own both the land and the property.

If you own a leasehold apartment, you will be responsible for looking after everything within its walls, including the likes of plasterwork and floorboards, but your responsibilities will normally exclude structural or exterior walls.

The Lease Explained

A lease is a contract between the building’s landlord and the leaseholder, allowing conditional ownership over a fixed period. This legal document will outline the obligations and responsibilities of the landlord and the leaseholder. You might normally expect the landlord to repair, maintain and manage the structure of the building, exterior grounds and common areas, including hallways and staircase.

As a leaseholder, your lease will outline your obligations and may include requirements such as behaving in a good ‘neighbourly’ way, keeping your property in good order and not doing some things without getting the landlord’s prior consent, such as keeping a pet. The lease should state which services your landlord will provide and how tasks will be allocated between any individual leaseholders.

Service Charges

It is likely that you will be asked to pay service charges to cover communal-area maintenance. This is paid to the landlord, and you should consider the amount set when thinking about buying a Leicester apartment. This service charge can change, but landlords do have a duty to keep any increases to a ‘reasonable’ amount.

What the service charge covers will depend on the individual lease, but you may expect to pay for repairs and maintenance, cleaning of the common areas and building insurance. There is normally also a management charge to cover the costs of either the landlord or an agency.

In some cases, you could be asked to pay money into a ‘sinking’ or reserve fund each year. This would be used to cover major repairs, such as if the roof needs replacing or drainage works are required.

Ground rent is payable on a leasehold flat, but this is normally a nominal amount. It is a requirement of a lease, however, and so should be paid by the date due.

A Good Investment?

Buying a leasehold flat in Leicester can be a great investment as long as you ensure that you have a well-written lease. We can help you find the perfect apartment to become both a good home and an excellent long-term investment. Simply get in touch with Keywest today. Call us today at our office at Hinckley Road 01162 544 555, or Queens Road 01162 544 543.