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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7035
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My daughter bought a leasehold flat 5 years ago. At the time

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My daughter bought a leasehold flat 5 years ago. At the time she was informed that to purchase the freehold to the apartment would cost £10000. She did not buy the freehold at that time but now that the flat is going to be sold my daughter wants to get a value for the freehold. She has been told that to get the value of the freehold she should approach the managing agent. She has tried phoning the Agent but their phone line will not accept incoming calls although she has previously been able to contact them on the same number. My daughter has been told by an Estate Agent that it will cost £300 for the agent to provide the information. Is such a large fee usual? Is there any other source where she can get a quote for the freehold?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your question.

If the property is to be sold then her solicitor should submit this to the managing freehold company as part of the management enquiries submitted by the buyer’s solicitors. The Buyer’s Solicitors will have a number of enquiries and this can just be added to them.

Managing companies are permitted to charge reasonable fees to answer management enquiries and £300 is about standard for their costs in this regard (though in my opinion the standard is a bit too high for the amount of work involved. It is normal for the Seller to pay this cost.

She should refer the enquiry to her solicitor and ask that it is included in the management enquiries sent to the free hold company. She should NOT pay for them herself and attempt to do it privately because there is a risk that either 1) they may attempt to charge again for the enquiries raised by her solicitor or 2) the buyer’s solicitors may not accept replies given to her rather than directly to her solicitors

The solicitor will also know how to contact the agent, the freehold title will have contact details for the actual freehold owner and they will refer it to the appropriate person.

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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. I have further questions.
The agents who have viewed the flat to value it with a view to putting it on the market have said that when a potential buyer sees that the remaining length of the lease is only 70 years that they would want to know how much it would cost to extend or purchase the Lease and that it would put them off purchasing the property if my daughter could not put a value on the alteration to the Lease. Would you advise my daughter to approach her conveyancing solicitor at the time of marketing rather than wait until the enquiries are being made during the conveyancing process.
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

If the lease is that short then the purchase would probably require it to be extended upon purchase because it's on the borderline in terms of whether lender would be prepared to issue a mortgage offer in this regard.

A freehold company can only charge what is reasonable. If there is a dispute over what they charge then it can be taken to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for arbitration.

The leasehold advisory service has a calculator to determine the rough costs. I would establish this first then attempt to squeeze out an informal figure from the agent on the basis that they will be making money when the sale goes through:-

If she cannot then she may have to pay the fee to establish the figure so that a sale can be agreed but pay the £300 on the written acknowledgement from the agent that they shall also answer the management enquires under the same charge and shall confrim the precise cost at the same time in reply to the enquiries.

Trust this clarifies, please click accept.

Kind regards,

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7035
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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