Leasehold apartments can either be purpose built or alternatively existing properties e.g. Mills, which have been converted into apartments.
When you purchase a leasehold apartment you are buying the right to occupy and use the apartment for a fixed term (usually between 99 and 999 years).
The Landlord retains the 'Freehold' of the land on which the apartment is built. When the lease expires the apartment normally passes back into the ownership of the Landlord.
What do I own?
Normally you will own the four walls of the apartment including the floor and the plaster on the walls and ceiling. It does not normally include external or structural walls. The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are normally owned by the Landlord who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the building.
The Landlord may employ a management company to service and maintain the apartments. It is worth checking who is employed to do this and if there have been any issues.
What is a lease?
A lease is a contract between the Landlord and the purchaser ('the Tenant'). It sets out what the Landlord is bound to do.
It also deals with the many obligations on the part of the purchaser which will include the payment of ground rent and contributions to the cost of maintaining and managing the building. The lease will probably also place certain conditions on the use and occupation of the apartment.
The Landlord will usually be required to manage and maintain the structure, exterior and common areas of the property, to collect contributions from all leaseholders and to keep accounts. We will read the lease for you and explain it in plain English to ensure that you fully understand your obligations.
What are your contractual rights?
The purchaser has a right for peaceful occupation of the apartment for the term of the lease. This is usually referred to as "quiet enjoyment". In addition the purchaser has the right to expect the Landlord to maintain and repair the building and manage the common parts, that is the parts of the building or grounds not specifically part of the purchase in the Lease, but to which there are rights of access, i.e. entrance hall and staircase.
The Landlord will also be responsible for arranging the buildings insurance. Your share of the premium will form part of the service charge you pay.
It is important that you are fully advised on your obligations in this regard as there could be severe financial consequences in the event of the Landlord levying charges in respect of these areas.
For more information contact the team on 01274 306 000