Buying A Flat With A Section 20 Notice
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Due to the terms of the lease, purchasing and selling a leasehold apartment can be a time-consuming process. When trying to buy one, ground rent exceeding £250, short leases, and flats with a section 20 notice can be quite stressful and slow down the process.
In this post, we’ll examine what a section 20 notice is, what it means for leasehold apartments, how to object to one, and whether you should still acquire an apartment if one has been served on the building.
Our lease extension experts can guide you through with efficiency.
What Are Section 20 Works?
When there are significant repairs or maintenance needs for the leasehold property, the landlord is required to serve a section 20 notice under the landlord and tenant act. Alternatively, it can be served if the landlord wishes to sign a long-term contract to maintain system doors, fire alarms, etc.
These are works that haven’t been budgeted and can’t be financed by the sinking fund that the landlord should hold from all leaseholders, and a section 20 notice is typically given in addition to your yearly service charge.
Objecting To A Section 20 Notice
When the landlord serves a section 20 notice, they are expected to give you a complete spec of the indicated works and quotations from the contractors they are considering.
Then, each leaseholder typically has one month to react to this notification, choose an alternative contractor, and request documentation of the necessity of the repair.
It is beneficial to invite a few contractors over to offer advice, assess the work, and provide bids. Additionally, you ought to perform due research on the freeholder, the management firm, and other entities operating under different names.
Request to see all invoices, receipts, and copies of accounts if the landlord refuses to disclose this information.
This request must be made in writing to them so that there is a paper trail with dates. You can take them to a first-tier tribunal if they refuse to give you all of this information and you have sufficient proof that the agents are not doing their duties properly, overcharging, charging for arbitrary expenses, etc.
However, you must ensure that everything is documented and that your argument is supported by solid proof. Before taking any action, you should speak with a leasehold solicitor and join forces with other leaseholders to establish a stronger case.
Should I Buy A Flat With A Section 20 Notice
You shouldn’t blatantly invest in a section 20 notification without first understanding the circumstances.
A section 20 notice need not always be detrimental if it is part of a long-term contract; however, there have been instances in which lawyers have suggested that because the notice is part of a long-term contract with contractors for the upkeep and repair of the building and grounds, major work and high costs aren’t involved. Once these people acquired ownership of the houses, they discovered that they had been given a work estimate in the tens of thousands of pounds. None of this came up during the court case.
If you’re in the process of purchasing a flat that has a section 20 notice, you must be aware of all of its implications. If the present leaseholder wants the sale to go through, it would be preferable if they paid it in full upfront. Alternatively, request a price reduction based on the section 20 notice’s costs.
Additionally, if there is an unpaid section 20 notice, your mortgage lender may have problems with you because it may hinder your capacity to repay the loan.
If you decide to accept the section 20 notice because you genuinely love the apartment, you won’t likely see an improvement in the value of your home when the renovations are finished, thus spending the full amount on both the renovations and the repairs would merely deplete your investment.
Since the sellers won’t find a better offer elsewhere and all other prospective purchasers will be dealing with the same problems, asking for a price reduction may be successful.
In conclusion, based on my personal experience owning a leasehold apartment, I would steer clear of anything that screams “Section 20” because it will only lead to difficulties and cost extra money right away.
As your solicitors won’t do this, you should also conduct your research on the landlord and managing agent beforehand. Given that there are so many parties involved when purchasing a leasehold property, this is a crucial step.
For further questions related to lease extensions and property, contact one of our experienced chartered surveyors at Leasehold Valuations.