Buying leasehold, chances of changing the lease (variation of terms)?

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    Buying leasehold, chances of changing the lease (variation of terms)?

    I found posts and discussion about ground rent but nothing about changing the actual lease at the time of purchasing - so the question is, does it not happen, is it impossible? It ist worthwhile?

    I'm in the process of buying a flat with 105 years left (originally 125), but the lease terms are in part if not unusual, a bit outdated. So I am wondering if at this point it is realistic or reasonable to ask the landlord to update or modify the lease.

    for starters
    #1 there is a clause saying rubbish is to be taken out daily in the bins or bags the landlord provides.
    This is not the situation anymore as I've checked and the rubbish should be taken out once a week to the curbside from where the council will pick it up. So that's obviously an outdated clause, and while I'm sure we could just let is stay there and it's never going to be an issue because everyone understands how it works, if there is one such thing in the lease, who decides what else is outdated or doesn't need adhering to?

    #2 there is a clause requiring that windows be washed outside and inside once a week
    #3 there is a clause requireing painting or whitewashing the walls of the flat every 5 years
    #4 there is a clause requiring tenant to cover the floors (except kitchen and bathroom) with carpet

    And the list goes on.
    I am sure the landlord won't come checking after these either, but technically...I feel a bit uncomfortable agreeing to so many things that seem a bit unreasonable/out of touch. How do the forum's landlords feel about this? And does anyone know how easy or difficult it is to change the terms?

    #2
    When you buy a leasehold flat, you are actually buying a lease which is long term rental agreement. The building including your flat belongs to the freeholder so don't worry about obsolete clauses.
    The clause which you have to comply are the ones which you make payment to freeholder or to management company.

    Comment


      #3
      And you have to comply with all the other clauses too.

      Not sure why you think carpeting clause is outdated or obsolete - for example - it is not.

      Yes do worry about them. You are buying a lease and these are the terms you are bound to uphold, and the ones you mention are mostly reasonable anyway. And yes, the landlord can check and them, and in some instances must do so. There may also be cross-adherence clauses in the lease, so the other flat owners will also expect you to adhere and can force the lessor to compel you to do so.

      Comment


        #4
        Normally it is the landlord that will try to change clauses.

        Ideally they should change number 1. I think this is worth changing as failure to handle refuse properly is a real life problem. In particular leases may assume individually owned bins, but the council may insist otherwise.

        Although number 2 seems excessive, I don't think windows have changed in ways that mean you can achieve the same effect with less frequent cleaning.

        Five years seems to be the lifetime for paintwork assumed for rental property, so 3 seems to be still valid (although it is actually pretty much unenforceable because of s147 Law of Property 1925).

        Number 4 is very definitely still a current issue.

        Comment


          #5
          The clauses which you should be more worried about are those where the landlord has the right to impose charges on you ie ground rent, service charges and administration charges. There is a negligible chance of changing those terms.

          Comment


            #6
            Not sure why you would want to keep a week's worth of rubbish in your flat ?
            Nasty.

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you for the many replies. Although I am not sure anyone except Leaseholder64 really addressed the question "CAN the terms potentially be changed (by tenants initiative)" - but I take from between the lines it that it's at least worth asking.

              Also appreciate the care regarding the important stuff, ground rent etc, but those seemed ok and reasonable so far and I did not bring them up since I had no questions regarding them. On this occasion it's this "unimportant stuff" that I had a question about.

              I guess whether demanding windows be washed weekly or having all floors carpeted is reasonable or not is a matter of opinion - but if those are common in leases then I'd guess most of London is breaching their lease, I don't know any leaseholders washing their windows weekly, nor have I seen many properties with all carpets (typically just bedrooms). Also, the current leaseholder/seller of this property is breaching the clause pretty bravely as indeed the floors are not carpeted, the wooden polished floor looks great. But if I wanted to honour my lease I should install carpets now? So far in my life I've seen wooden floors manage just fine so I think not.

              Comment


                #8
                Breaching of leases is very common, and most are ignored.

                However, failure to carpet has resulted in some high profile court cases, and is a common cause of neighbour disputes. The reason for the carpeting requirement is noise reduction. They both remove a direct source of noise and also insulate against airborne noise. I hope you ever only walk bare foot on your wooden floors and never allow children to run or jump on them.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by littlebadwolf View Post
                  ...the question "CAN the terms potentially be changed (by tenants initiative)"
                  The answer to questions posted in that form is almost always yes.

                  But who you gonna ask. The current contracting (to buy the lease) is between you and the seller of that lease. You have no standing at all in terms of the lessor prior to completion of the deal. You could ask the seller to negotiate with the lessor as precondition to any deal, but the likelihood is that the lessor would have to engage every lessee at great expense to all involved (and other lessees) to vary all leases, with consent of all, not just yours unilaterally. Why would they do that?

                  Originally posted by littlebadwolf View Post
                  So far in my life I've seen wooden floors manage just fine so I think not.
                  Good luck with that

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You should be buying a freehold house, if you want to escape leasehold conditions.

                    In construction of majority of older apartment buildings and conversions from larger houses, there is little or no noise insulation material between the ceiling plaster board of flat below and wooden floor boards to flat above. So you should expect to see the requirement for carpeting in leases to cover noise problem.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post


                      But who you gonna ask. The current contracting (to buy the lease) is between you and the seller of that lease. You have no standing at all in terms of the lessor prior to completion of the deal. You could ask the seller to negotiate with the lessor as precondition to any deal, but the likelihood is that the lessor would have to engage every lessee at great expense to all involved (and other lessees) to vary all leases, with consent of all, not just yours unilaterally. Why would they do that?

                      thanks, this actually gave me some understanding of the "situation" and what the actual challenges are. That makes me think that making leases of 100 or 999 years with specific clauses on when and how rubbish is disposed is crazy as everyone knows (?) the world will change, if changing the lease is made close to impossible it's a bit impractical. But ignore that, I'm just musing out loud - not at you specifically.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                        Breaching of leases is very common, and most are ignored.

                        However, failure to carpet has resulted in some high profile court cases, and is a common cause of neighbour disputes. The reason for the carpeting requirement is noise reduction. They both remove a direct source of noise and also insulate against airborne noise. I hope you ever only walk bare foot on your wooden floors and never allow children to run or jump on them.
                        Right, ok, thank you for the additional info I had no idea of the origins. I had not considered the lack of insulation in construction (which Gordon999 mentioned there) - live and learn. But you have to admit it's a bit cultural too eh? Anyway of course I use plenty of rugs as is common when there is no carpet, never allow shoes inside (not just noise but dirt!) and no kids in the household. There is a squeaky floorbloard in the flat I noticed in the viewing and I plan to get that fixed too.

                        Thanks again

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I have the same issue that I cannot seem to get an answer to: A clause in the lease states a Notice of Transfer will cost 2 guineas (approx £1.50 in today's currency). Another Clause states the Service charge will cost £10 pa. TheService Charge has changed as it is now £650 pa (but the clause in the lease has not been changed). The Notice of Tranfer charge of 2 guineas has not been changed as I recently paid £1.50 for a Notice of Transfer. Surely at some point in the future 2 guineas will be worth £0. What then? Do these clauses get updated when a lease extension is granted (which I am considering)?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Silvershine View Post
                            I have the same issue that I cannot seem to get an answer to: A clause in the lease states a Notice of Transfer will cost 2 guineas (approx £1.50 in today's currency). Another Clause states the Service charge will cost £10 pa. TheService Charge has changed as it is now £650 pa (but the clause in the lease has not been changed). The Notice of Tranfer charge of 2 guineas has not been changed as I recently paid £1.50 for a Notice of Transfer. Surely at some point in the future 2 guineas will be worth £0. What then? Do these clauses get updated when a lease extension is granted (which I am considering)?
                            2 guineas is £2.10 exactly. Generally, If that is what the lease says then that's all you have to pay, same with the service charge.
                            If a lease is defective then application can be made to the FTT to change it or the freeholder can request it be amended at such time as the lease is extended but both parties will have to agree..

                            Freeholders can , however charge a reasonable fee for LP1 enquiries prior to transfer so probably won't be concerned by the £2.10

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Silvershine,

                              The Notice of Transfer will be paid by the next buyer of your flat. So not your problem if the freeholder decides to add £100 onto the 2 guineas.

                              The service charge levy at £10 may be just the charge for first year in the lease.. Its for maintenance of building, so must be variable from year to year.

                              A Leaseholder has the legal right to seek a statutory 90 years extension at peppercorn ground rent. If you seek extension for lease below 80 years , it costs more due to 50% marriage value added to the compensation formula.

                              So don't accept any non-statutory lease extension like going back to 99 years at £250 pa modern ground rent and doubling up every 10 years.

                              Comment

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