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Leasehold Conveyancing in Bristol – Alert over ex-council properties

The Fridays Leasehold Conveyancing Bristol Team have in recent times have completed a large number of conveyancing transactions in Bristol. Conveyancing Solicitors focusing in Bristol properties where the freehold is retained by Bristol City Council need to be cognisant of the following :

  • UK Councils, including Bristol City Council are legally required by central Government to update their properties
  • Leaseholder in blocks owned by Bristol City Council have to pay a share of the cost via service charges
  • Service Charge invoices for these maintenance works can, in certain cases exceed £10, 000 per leasehold property 

If you require Conveyancing in Bristol  and the flat you are purchasing is a former Bristol  City Council property originally purchased by a former tenant under the ‘Right to Buy’ legislation and the Freeholder (Landlord) is the Bristol  Council, or a company wholly owned by Bristol Council. In most such cases there will be other flats in the building which will be let by the Landlord to Council tenants.

Owners of leasehold flats in blocks still owned by Bristol   Council are required under the provisions of their leases to pay contributions not only to the costs of day-to-day maintenance and repair of the block (‘Service charges’) but also to the costs of major works and renewals of the structure of the building, including the services and windows. This could also incorporate costs in improving the building.

Councils, such as Bristol Council are now obliged  to carry out extensive major works to their residential properties to bring them up to certain standards imposed by the Government. This means that Councils ( London and throughout England and Wales ) now have programmes to upgrade all properties they own, and they either have or will be carrying out such works, in many cases involving works estimated to cost very substantial sums, during the next few years. The cost of such works will be charged to flat-owners – for example, if major works to a building containing 50 flats cost £1 million, then each flat-owner would be have to pay £20, 000. Of course only the owners of flats which have been privately purchased have to actually pay, as the Council will pay the share of the costs attributable to flats which are let to council tenants.

Whether you are in need of conveyancing in Bristol or elsewhere in the UK, if the property is a former council property your conveyancing lawyer needs to raise appropriate enquiries as to works carried out or already planned, and will advise you about this. If it is anticipated that a service charge invoice will be received from the Council after contracts for the purchase have been exchanged we will require the Seller’s conveyancing solicitors to pay this at completion, or retain money to pay afterwards. If works are planned but have not yet been completed, we will inform you so that you can consider negotiating a reduction in price. The Fridaysmove Bristol Conveyancing team are experienced in this area and leasehold Conveyancing in Bristol  generally.

Please be aware however that Councils ( such as Bristol )  are often unable (or unwilling) to give information about future plans, and sometimes works which were not previously planned are found to become necessary at short notice. Therefore no guarantee can be given that you will not receive a notice of Bristol  City Council’s intention to carry out major works after you have purchased the property, and from the date of completion you will be liable to contribute to the cost of all works carried out by the Council in accordance with the provisions of the lease.

A leasehold conveyancing solicitor can only pass on such information as is provided by Vendor, the Vendor’s Conveyancing Lawyer and Bristol Council, and cannot be responsible for misleading or inadequate information supplied by them. Should you have concerns about exposure to major works as a result of leasehold conveyancing in Bristol please talk to our conveyancing in Bristol  team who specialise in leasehold conveyancing in Bristol .

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