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Leasehold Conveyancing in Manchester – Warning over ex-council flats

Our Leasehold Conveyancing Manchester Team have in recent years acted on a number of leasehold properties Manchester. Conveyancing lawyers specialising in Manchester properties where the freehold reversion is owned by Manchester City Council need to be aware of the following :

•    Councils, such as Manchester City Council are being required by the Government to update their properties
•    Leasehold Owners of flats in blocks owned by Manchester City Council have to pay a share of the cost via service charges
•    Service Charge Bills for these works can, in certain circumstances exceed £10, 000 per leasehold flat 

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

Private leasehold owners of leasehold flats in blocks still owned by Manchester  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 Manchester 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 Mancester 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 Machester Conveyancing team are experienced in this area and leasehold Conveyancing in Manchester generally.

Please be aware however that Councils ( such as Manchester )  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 Manchester 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.

Your leasehold conveyancing lawyer can only pass on such information as is provided by Sellers and Manchester Council, and cannot be responsible for misleading or inadequate information supplied by them. If you have any questions about exposure to major works as a result of leasehold conveyancing in Manchester where you are buying an ex local authority property please speak to one of our conveyancing in Manchester team who specialise in leasehold conveyancing in Manchester.

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