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Thomas
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7478
Experience:  UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
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Hello, I have viewed a leashold flat, but would like an insight

Customer Question

Hello, I have viewed a leashold flat, but would like an insight into what the annual service charge of £716 a year is likely to include on a standard worded Lease document, as I'm rather concerned about the state of one of the windows on the inside of the bathroom and think that in the future it may need replacing, but would the money for this come out of the pot of £716 a year I pay for the annual service charge, or do I fund the window replacement solely myself? The same question applies to downspouts and exterior painting. Another question I have but I don't know if you can answer this - and that is if there is help with ground rent and the service charge if I ever became unemployed? I ask this because I might need a ground floor accommodation (rather than a house with stairs) because I have an eye condition which might affect my eyesight in the future.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

Generally, if it is just your window which needs replacing then you will usually find that you will have to pay for it and the freeholder will arrange the replacement to ensure that all windows at the property are similar.

Basically the key thing that you need to remember is that the only statements that you can rely upon (ie. legally enforce) are written statements made by the seller’s solicitor to your solicitor. You cannot rely on anything else.

Your solicitor will have a number of enquries to make in respect of the freeholder and a great many of them will relate specifically to the service charge. If you require absolute confirmation of the treatment of the window and how it affects service charge then you must inform your solicitor as soon as possible and ask them the make any enquiry they consider appropriate in view of your concern.

Generally, though, where only one window requires replacement, they freeholder’s arrange and you pay.

Exterior painting would certainly be done on the building as a whole. However, because this is exception expenditure (ie. because it’s not done every year) it means you can either expect service charge to be increased to build up an additional sum to pay for it OR if there is a “sinking fund” (which is a reserve fund built up over excess service charges collected over time) it to come out of that and then for service charges to increase again to build up the sinking fund again.

The situation is the same with downspouts.

There will be no help as to service charge from the freeholder in the future, so this means that you would have to rely on housing benefit in the future should the worst happen.


My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.


Kind regards,


Tom
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.
Hi

Is there any further information you require?

I just want to ensure that you are satisfied, so please let me know if you have any further queries on the information I have provided.


Kind regards,


Tom
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.
Hi

Is there any further information you require?

I just want to ensure that you are satisfied, so please let me know if you have any further queries on the information I have provided.


Kind regards,


Tom

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