How crucial is lift for a 2nd floor flat?

by Readers Question

13:49 PM, 3rd March 2014
About 6 years ago

How crucial is lift for a 2nd floor flat?

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How crucial is lift for a 2nd floor flat?

I’m a first time buy to let landlord. Just reserved a 2nd floor 1 bed flat in an office conversion with walking distance to Sutton train station.

The design of the flats are such that all 5 units have access to lifts (& stairs) except the two corner units, one of which on the 2nd floor I’ve reserved. They are expected to use stairs, which were the emergency staircase of the old office with no access to the lifts. From plot plan, it suggests both corner units for all 4 stories have exclusive use of the emergency stairs.

Is that a concern not having lift access? It seems to apply to these 8 units over a development of 80 units for the entire block.

Is it possible to negotiate lower service charge with freeholder given no access to lifts?

Thanks for all the advice in advance, much appreciated.

Simon Lift



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:01 PM, 3rd March 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi Simon,

Looking at your question from my background in lending I always think it is important to consider how easy it is to finance a property for its future capital growth even if you do not need to borrow now.

Most lenders have a cut off point at more than 4 stories where they start to ask more in-depth questions and normally require a lift to be in place. At 4 stories in your block it should not be an issue with lenders criteria.

They also do not like deck access, but this does not sound like an issue in your description.

Now I am definitely not an expert on Building Regulations, but as long as it conforms to Building Regs and you have had an independent survey done by a lender that they are happy with you should be safe. If not get one done for yourself and ask the question.

Now from a value perspective I am assuming you are paying less for the fact they have no lift access, because it will cut down the demand for you property compared to the ones with lift access both for rental and future sales eg someone with mobility issues.

It is however very common for a second story flat not to have a lift.

I am sure we have more expert readers that can assist with your question as well.

Good luck 🙂

Graeme

14:38 PM, 3rd March 2014
About 6 years ago

You say the flat is on the 2nd floor - but how high is the 2nd floor -- how many steps is it to the front door?.

One often expects a 2nd floor flat in an old house converted into flats to have no lift.
However, a new conversion in an office block suggests everything is bang-up-to-date, contemporary, with all mod-cons including a lift....and that is one of the things that your prospective tenants will expect and be looking for.

Unless the purchase price is noticeably lower than the other flats in the block that do have access to the lifts, and therefore you can accept a noticeably lower rent, but the figures still stack up as an investment, then I wouldn't buy it. There's plenty more fish in the sea out there.

Sue P

14:54 PM, 3rd March 2014
About 6 years ago

If you buy a flat without a lift then you are limiting your prospective tenant base. However, if you are looking for a 20 - 40 working demographic and there are plenty in the market then it shouldn't be a problem.

My problem is more with the service charges. You really need to know and fully understand the service charges before you commit to buy any property. If you buy and then find you are liable for 1* 80th of the total costs of the block then you will be paying for lifts which you can't use. Lifts are not cheap to maintain properly and I would not want to pay for one that I was not using!

So - check the service charges and as long as they are fair then I would not let the lack of a lift put me off buying.

16:18 PM, 3rd March 2014
About 6 years ago

Agree with all previous posts, especially Sue P's with regards to share of service charges.

I would also find out how many flats are being sold to investors and how many to owner occupiers.

If its mainly investors then you are going to be competing for tenants when you complete.

A flat without a lift is less attractive than one with a lift.

Always think about the end user and the end in mind.

When you come to sell, will all people viewing your flat say "I'd love it, if only it had a lift"?

If it was me, I would want a significant discount for this property to make it a viable proposition.


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