Many council homes are flats / maisonette’s and whilst you can purchase these properties using the Right to Buy scheme it is important to note that you will be buying a leasehold (area of the unit) and the freeholder (your current landlord) will be responsible for maintaining the communal areas and the building itself.
What is a leasehold?
With a leasehold you are purchasing a lease for the property for XX number of years – This is can be for 100’s of years, but obviously this reduces over time. You will not own the land the property has been built on.
As you don’t own the land the freeholder is responsible for the building itself and maintaining the communal areas.
Are there any ongoing Leaseholder Costs?
Yes – As a leasehold you will have to pay a service charge, this maybe a monthly or yearly payment plus if it is identified that major works are required to the building or the surrounding areas you will be required to pay for your share of the costs.
Your service charge costs must be outlined in the offer notice (Section 125) issued by your landlord plus the landlord has to make you aware of any planned maintenance, repair or improvements planned within the next five years.
What happens if I want to make Home Improvements?
If you intend to make home improvements you may need to get consent from your freeholder (current landlord) to carry out these works. This should all be clearly detailed in the lease when you purchase the property through the Right to Buy scheme.
Where to get further advice about buying a leasehold property?
You should speak to a mortgage adviser to give you advice in this area. You can get right to buy mortgages with bad credit on leasehold properties however many questions will be asked to see if the property qualifies, for example:
What floor is the property on, how many floors in the block? – Many lenders will not lend on properties which are in high rise blocks.
What is the construction type? – Some local authority flats are not of standard construction, so in this case many lenders will not lend against these. It is important to know the construction type i.e. Wimpey no-fines for example, from the start to ensure there are no delays and unnecessary costs incurred.
Need Mortgage Advice?
We would be happy to help. We have helped many clients purchase their council flat using the Right to Buy scheme. Please complete the enquiry form and schedule a call with an adviser who can walk you through the buying process.