first time buyer, buying leasehold top floor flat, is the loft included?

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    first time buyer, buying leasehold top floor flat, is the loft included?

    Hey all, I've read many posts here and did not find an answer to my issue
    My offer was accepted on a top floor leasehold flat, when viewing the flat for the first time i asked the agent very clearly if there access to the loft and will i own it if i buy the leasehold and i got a positive answer, i also noticed there was a roof window installed to provide more light to the flat.

    Now the agent sent over all the documents to my solicitor and i asked to read them myself, and i have some issues. it appears to me that the lease does not include the loft space, the exact wording on the lease says "... owns the joists beneath the floor but not the joists above the ceiling of the flat" there is no mention at all about the roof or loft anywhere else.
    this means the freeholder keeps the loft?
    also there is a roof window, it seems to me like it needed the freeholder permission.. however no mention of any consent, actually no mention of any alteration at all anywhere in the forms...(i think part of the loft had to be removed to make space for that window)

    My solicitor advised me that usually leasehold top floor flat do not include the loft unless the lease clearly says so, and this one doesn't.
    i was under the impression that i will own the loft and will not accept this absurd situation of not being able to access it, is this situation possible to be remedied? or should i pull out right now? the survey is scheduled this week and i can still cancel it.

    any help will be greatly appreciated !

    #2
    Why is it an "absurd" situation?

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      #3
      Why it is an absurd situation is not the discussion i wanted to promote, please comment if you can help.

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        #4
        Illegal extension into lofts is very common. Unless you have clear documentation permitting this extension and documentation confirming planning permission for the roof window and building control consent for the work, run.

        Even if there is a clear licence to alter, it may still be the case, that you don't have rights to use the space.

        The way the absurd situation may get resolved is that you may have to pay to restore things to their original condition. My guess is that it would be advantageous, in that case, if the roof space is not included, as that would mean that the original trespasser would have to pay.

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          #5
          In new build blocks, access to any loft space is usually in a communal hallway. In conversions, access is usually within the top floor flat. As said above, it is usual for the freeholder to own the loft space. That means the freeholder is responsible for roof repairs etc. If the top floor flat owned the loft, would you want to be responsible for all repairs and replacement of the roof? If you didn't do repairs in good time or to a satisfactory standard, then is that fair on your fellow leaseholders on other floors?

          What you have is pretty standard and not absurd in any way.

          As for the roof light, as said above, ask the seller to provide proof of the necessary permissions obtained from the freeholder. If none are available, your solicitor may be able to advise on indemnity policies that will cover you for any future cost to rectify. Obviously ask the seller to pay the cost of such policy!

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            #6
            By the way, I hope you didn't take everything the estate agent said to you as the gospel truth? Really? Ask yourself who he/she is working for. Clue - it's not you!

            Also, your solicitor, if competent, should be able to advise you on all of this. It's all fairly routine stuff. I hope you have a decent competent solicitor and not a cheap and cheerful online only conveyancing service...

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              #7
              And remember that you don't own the building or even your flat in a leasehold arrangement. You only have a long term agreement to rent the space within the building in accordance with the lease.

              If you want a flat with loft space you need to walk away and find another.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Tipper View Post
                And remember that you don't own the building or even your flat in a leasehold arrangement. You only have a long term agreement to rent the space within the building in accordance with the lease.

                If you want a flat with loft space you need to walk away and find another.
                If in the same area, such a flat will likely cost more. You get what you pay for...

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                  #9
                  Thanks everyone for your comments ! they are greatly appreciated !

                  Originally posted by security2 View Post
                  If the top floor flat owned the loft, would you want to be responsible for all repairs and replacement of the roof? If you didn't do repairs in good time or to a satisfactory standard, then is that fair on your fellow leaseholders on other floors?
                  I understand it is common practice, however i dont see any problem with the top floor flat being responsible for the roof/loft, the top floor will be the first to notice any roof problem and have the biggest incentive to get it repaired, of course the payment being shared by all the flats. this is actually how it works everywhere outside England and wales.

                  I never take what the agent tells me for granted of course, they are only forwarding information from the vendor, i think the vendor told them the loft is included. and seeing the roof window led me to believe its true. Also this loft is pretty small i dont think a flat which includes such loft will cost more, but seeing lofts are very rarely included in top floor flat leases makes me think maybe i should just look for a small terraced house instead of a flat.

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                    #10
                    Ha... responsible for the roof but not responsible for the payment thereof.... nice.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by leo1 View Post


                      this is actually how it works everywhere outside England and wales.
                      Does it really? I have no experience of buying outside England, but would be amazed if this was the case!

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by security2 View Post

                        Does it really? I have no experience of buying outside England, but would be amazed if this was the case!
                        Truly amazing indeed. Someone living at the top of the Empire State Building is responsible for monitoring the pointy bit at the top. When it leaks he detects it (with his detector), and everybody else pays.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by leo1 View Post
                          ....I should just look for a small terraced house instead of a flat.
                          Absolutely! Leasehold properties are a nightmare waiting to happen. You're better off with a freehold house and you can then do what you please without being constrained by the lease and freeholder.

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