Buying Attic space

by Readers Question

10:51 AM, 3rd June 2015
About 4 years ago

Buying Attic space

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Buying Attic space

I would like to buy the attic space above my flat . There are 16 flats in our block and 12 of us own the freehold.  Buying Attic space

Eight of us have been using the attack as storage but it does not belong to us, it belongs to the freehold company.

I need to know how I can get a valuation do to buy the attack space?

Thanks

Dianne



Comments

Puzzler

20:37 PM, 3rd June 2015
About 4 years ago

I suspect you can't, it belongs to the freehold company as it is part of the communal areas. You could only buy it by varying the lease and indemnifying for anyone else requiring access. Have you approached all 16 flat owners? Are the other 7 using it willing to forego their storage? The freehold company has covenants also to those who are not members in their leases. How old is the lease?

Would be interested to hear what others have to say.

Diane Bardon

0:14 AM, 4th June 2015
About 4 years ago

The lease is 999 years . during 2006 we had EGM we voted in favourite of the motion that the loft space demised to the top floor flats for nominal consideration with a majority of 8 votes agains 3 and 1 abstention .
I do not know if we are breaking the term of lease if we continue to use the attack space as storage when is not included in our lease .

John Daley

11:13 AM, 4th June 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Dianne,

I think you need to do two things. Firstly get some advice from a solicitor who is genuinely expert in leasehold matters, the average high street hack doesn't have the required experience.

I'd also suggest you advise the other freeholders what you want to do. Obviously the issue has come up before so it won't be a total surprise.

One of the problems might be that a dissenting freeholder will seek compensation for the loss of the storage in the attic. They might have a valid claim, depending on lease terms, that will at the least delay your project.

The storage space has a value to everyone entitled to use it and you will probably have to pay that value to the other owners if they can prove a right to use it.

Diane Bardon

13:13 PM, 4th June 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "04/06/2015 - 11:13":

I have contacted the leasehold enfranchisement before but I did not get direct advise regarding this matter . I am certain the attack spaces is not belong to first floor flats in the lease but all the flats on first floor using as storage . We ( first floor flats ) are the only have access .

My questions

Can we continue using it as storage ? is it legal ? and if is not should the other lease holders on first floor also consider buying it ? The attack space cover 7 flats and two of us want to buy it . also do you have to own a share in the freehold in order to buy it ?

Diane Bardon

13:46 PM, 4th June 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Diane Bardon" at "04/06/2015 - 13:13":

Another lease holder suggested that we should have the option to include the loft space in our leases and give concession to ground floor flats as follow:

1. Offer them composition.
2. In addition take the responsibility for all the roof repairs. The roof needs attention.
3. Increase share in the maintenance.

Diane Bardon

13:46 PM, 4th June 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Diane Bardon" at "04/06/2015 - 13:13":

Another lease holder suggested that we should have the option to include the loft space in our leases and give concession to ground floor flats as follow:

1. Offer them composition.
2. In addition take the responsibility for all the roof repairs. The roof needs attention.
3. Increase share in the maintenance.

Puzzler

15:21 PM, 6th June 2015
About 3 years ago

You definitely need quality advice. A solicitor or surveyor with specialist knowledge.

Monty Bodkin

16:55 PM, 6th June 2015
About 3 years ago

What do the leases say?

One of mine says;
"The right at all times to use the common parts."
Another says;
"The right for the reasonable beneficial use of the flat to use any communal facilities."

Even if yours are silent on the matter, it could be argued that all leaseholders have similar rights.

I don't think the freeholders can vote away any leaseholders rights.

IMO the only way forward is by negotiation.

Nick Pope

11:05 AM, 7th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I strongly advise that you do not accept the responsibility for the roof repairs as this could hinder a future sale both as a future purchaser might not want to take a risk as to future costs but also because a lender might not accept the arrangement and refuse a mortgage.

As to compensation what have the ground floor tenants lost as they don't have any access for the storage? However if the plan is to convert the roof void into living accommodation (either for additional accommodation for each flat or as separate units for sale) then it is the freeholder which has the right to a share in any profits which would indirectly entitle those on the ground floor to a share. It is always important to remember that the owner of the freehold is a separate legal entity from each of the shareholders.

All in all a complicated situation and you need advice from a solicitor and from an a specialist valuer experienced in this type of arrangement. You can find such on http://www.rics.org

Neil Robb

19:36 PM, 7th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with Nick when the roof needs repaired or replaced that will be a very large bill indeed

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