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What can you expect to pay buying the freehold on a leasehold flat?

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If you own a leasehold flat and want to buy the freehold, one of your first questions is likely to be how much will it cost?

What you’ll soon discover, however, is there is no set price. It depends on a variety of factors, including the existing length of your lease, the flat’s value and the ground rent that you pay.

It also depends on negotiations with your existing freeholder and a surveyors’ valuation. 

But in general, the shorter the lease remaining, the higher the cost tends to be.

If you own a flat with a leasehold value of £150,000 with a remaining lease term of 125 years and an annual ground rent of £200, the freehold could cost £3,500 to £4,000 per flat

If you own a flat with a leasehold value of £150,000 with a remaining lease term of 125 years and an annual ground rent of £200, the freehold could cost £3,500 to £4,000 per flat

There is also the cost of extending your lease, but if this is done after buying the freehold – so you and any fellow freeholders are effectively granting yourselves the extension – the only cost will be the legal fees.

Here is an outline of the costs to take into consideration if you’re looking to buy the freehold.

1. Legal fees

You will need to begin the process by finding out how many other leaseholders want to get involved. This is because a majority is required before you can proceed.

You will need to instruct a solicitor to ensure that your building qualifies for enfranchisement, the term given to the process.

Lucy Lafferty-Brown, of Zen Move solicitors, said: ‘The best way forward is for one of the participating lessees to become the point of contact for the solicitor acting. Your solicitor will write out to all lessees to make sure they are all invited to participate in the purchase and, hopefully, to secure the ‘requisite majority’ of lessees to participate.’

Usually, the more flats that take part, the cheaper the individual legal costs will be. The reason for this is that the time spent on the exercise is similar, regardless of whether there are two or thirty flats. 

The legal fees are likely to range from £800 to £1,000 plus VAT. This would be for up to four flats and then £250 for each additional flat.

Mrs Lafferty-Brown added: ‘You’ll need to keep a close eye on costs or they can run away from you. Employing additional people such as a project manager is not necessary. A solicitor who is experienced in this area will be sufficient and be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently within a set time frame.’ 

2. Valuation fees

You will also need to consider the cost of a specialist surveyor to prepare a report that will let you know how much the freehold purchase is likely to cost.

Mrs Lafferty-Brown explained: ‘Knowing the cost of the valuation from the surveyor is a good thing, as other tenants who were previously doubtful are more likely to join in knowing this information and therefore making the transaction cheaper as a whole.’

The fees vary, but roughly you can expect to pay £500 to £600 per flat.

3. Tenant agreements

It is a good idea that all participants enter into a ‘participation agreement’.

Mrs Lafferty-Brown suggested: ‘This is important because if anyone changes their mind it could jeopardise the purchase, as one leaseholder dropping out would increase the share that the remaining participating leaseholders would each need to pay, so this could be a potential unexpected extra cost if there is no participation agreement in place.

‘If this has been organised, then you can easily avoid having to deal with this unnecessary extra cost.’

A solicitor can draft a bespoke participation agreement for your situation. The participation agreement would be around £250 per flat, which should less if there are more than flats involved.

4. What is the cost of buying the freehold?

This is a hard question to answer with accuracy as it depends on a number of variables, according to Mrs Lafferty-Brown. 

These include the number of flats involved, what the value of the land is in the local area, and whether the building has development potential. 

There is a helpful calculator on the Leasehold Advisory Service website which can help provide an indication of what the price will be.

You will, however, get a more realistic estimate once you receive the freehold valuation report from your surveyor.

Example freehold costs

Eden Goldie, conveyancing executive at Zen Move has provided some estimates about the cost of buying a freehold. However, these are subject to change:

– If you own a flat with a leasehold premium value of £150,000 with a remaining lease term of 125 years and an annual ground rent of £200 then you could buy the freehold for around £3,500 to £4,000 per flat plus the associated costs.

– If you own a flat with a leasehold premium value of £300,000 with a remaining lease term of 85 years and an annual ground rent of £300 then you could expect to purchase the freehold for around £5,000 to £6,000 per flat plus costs.

5. Freeholder’s fees

In addition to the solicitor’s legal fees, your solicitor also manages the freeholder’s undertaking for reasonable costs that accompany the buying of the freehold.

You have to pay for their costs associated with hiring surveyors and taking legal advice. This cost is likely to be in the range of around £1,500 to £2,000.

6. Setting up a limited company

Mrs Lafferty-Brown recommends leaseholders to set up a limited company to go about the role of being the freeholder, which comes with responsibilities such as producing accounts and an annual return. This can be set up for less than £100 via the Government website.

You will be responsible for the legal fees of the current freeholder’s solicitor, which will be dependent on who they use, but this is likely to be £1,500 plus, as it will need to obtain similar advice. 

Legal costs to consider 

When acting for flat owners, Zen Move has provided the following estimated quote:

– Participation agreement £250 per flat – and decreasing if there are more than four flats involved

– Serving notice and negotiating with the freeholder. Preparing the notice and dealing with the counter notice and referral to surveyors (surveyor fees not included) £600 plus VAT per lease if both parties can agree a premium but this does decrease if there are more than four flats involved.

– Leaseholder legal costs: £800 plus VAT for up to four flats with an additional £250 for each additional flat thereafter

Disbursements:

– Office copies £15 (including copies of the freehold title, leasehold title and lease)

– Land Registry fees will be dependent on the premium but range from £20 – £270 and can be established from the Government website (ALthough a solicitor will set these out on the formal quote). HM Land Registry: Registration Services fees – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

– Final searches: £3 per flat with an additional £2 per person if the transaction is being funded by way of mortgage

– Stamp Duty: This will depend on the premium being paid for each individual property, with stamp duty being payable at £125,000 and up but this is rare.

– ID and AML Checks: This varies from firm-to-firm but you can expect to pay around £30 for this service.

– Bank transfer fee: This is usually no more than £36 per bank transaction.

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Amanda Holden puts her five bedroom Surrey home on the market for £5million

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Amanda Holden has put her Surrey mansion on the market for £5million after giving the luxurious property a showbiz makeover.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 51, is hoping to make a £1.5million profit having splashed out £3.5m on the five-bedroom home seven years ago.

The detached home boasts its own bar, huge 30ft by 27ft living room, stylish kitchen diner and a hot tub, where Amanda has posed for several bikini pictures she’s posted on her Instagram page.

Amanda Holden (pictured) has put one of her family homes on the market seven years after she bought it for £3.5million 

The star often posts pictures on Instagram of her beautiful home, which she has been given a fabulous renovation by the star

The star often posts pictures on Instagram of her beautiful home, which she has been given a fabulous renovation by the star

The huge open-plan living room also displays eye-catching artwork, including a giant painting of a female astronaut and a £30,000 drawing by the Connor Brothers of a sultry woman in a silver dress smoking a cigarette

 The huge open-plan living room also displays eye-catching artwork, including a giant painting of a female astronaut and a £30,000 drawing by the Connor Brothers of a sultry woman in a silver dress smoking a cigarette

A source said: ‘Amanda loves her family home and is really proud of the work she’s done on it.

‘She’s had a real hand in the makeover and has enjoyed seeing her ideas come to life.

‘It will be a sad day when she moves out but Amanda can take comfort in the number of memories she’s created there.’

Amanda lives in the property with record producer husband Chris Hughes and their two daughters Lexi, 16, and Hollie, 10. 

After buying the home in 2015, herself and Chris described the mansion as their ‘forever home’ and Amanda admitted ‘badgering’ its former owner to sell it to them for years until they finally relented.

The couple also own a holiday home in the Cotswolds, which they have been renovating over the past year.

Heart FM DJ Amanda has spoken of her love of interior design

Heart FM DJ Amanda has spoken of her love of interior design

Amanda recently added a glamorous outhouse to the Surrey property where another bar and the hot tub are located, set upon a large wooden decking area, close to a palm tree she planted in honour of Sir Captain Tom Moore.

The garden room also includes a log burner and comfy sofas, which Amanda says are perfect for a ‘sneaky afternoon disco nap.’

The Heart FM DJ renovated her bespoke Wilson Fink kitchen during lockdown, adding new cupboards and worktops, plus mirrored tiles on the walls.

She also has three disco ball-style lights, worth £850 each, hanging over her breakfast bar.

And her quirky taste is exemplified by pineapple-themed accessories dotted around the property, including dark navy and pineapple-print wallpaper and a £125 Graham and Green pineapple lamp.

The huge open-plan living room also displays eye-catching artwork, including a giant painting of a female astronaut and a £30,000 drawing by the Connor Brothers of a sultry woman in a silver dress smoking a cigarette under the caption ‘If you haven’t got anything nice to say come sit next to me.’

The mansion, which includes five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a study, is located behind two sets of private gates which lead onto a private road towards the house.

The driveway is big enough to hold several cars, which is convenient when Amanda hosts her showbiz parties.

Speaking about her home to House Beautiful, Amanda revealed it was important their Surrey property didn’t feel like ‘a show home’

She said: ‘We have two little girls and don’t want them feeling that they’re treading on eggshells.’

Amanda’s passion for interior design has led to her landing a new TV show with pal Alan Carr in which the pair be doing up a property in Italy.

The series will air on the BBC after she pitched the idea to the broadcaster.

Amanda admits herself and husband Chris have so many clothes, they turned a room into a walk-in wardrobe – inspired by her favourite TV show.

She says: ‘I’m a huge Sex And The City fan and Chris did a Mr Big and turned a whole room into my wardrobe.

‘Except, he didn’t leave a pair of Manolos at the end… but he arranged everything else. It’s something I’ve always dreamt of.

‘There’s a remote-controlled mirror that goes up and down and lights up – it’s amazing.’

The star has taken to Instagram and posted photos of her on dreamy summer evenings relaxing her garden which includes a hot tub set upon a large wooden decking area, close to a palm tree she planted in honour of Sir Captain Tom Moore

The star has taken to Instagram and posted photos of her on dreamy summer evenings relaxing her garden which includes a hot tub set upon a large wooden decking area, close to a palm tree she planted in honour of Sir Captain Tom Moore

Speaking about her efforts to lovingly renovate her home, house proud Amanda explained: 'I am house proud, but I've got two kids, two dogs and a cat, so it's a family house. Everything is washable and wipeable.'

Speaking about her efforts to lovingly renovate her home, house proud Amanda explained: ‘I am house proud, but I’ve got two kids, two dogs and a cat, so it’s a family house. Everything is washable and wipeable.’

The buyer lucky enough to be able to afford Amanda's sprawling home will be able to relax in this stunning stand alone bath

The buyer lucky enough to be able to afford Amanda’s sprawling home will be able to relax in this stunning stand alone bath

The en-suite bathroom is just off the master bedroom where Amanda has frequently posted enviable pictures on her socials

The en-suite bathroom is just off the master bedroom where Amanda has frequently posted enviable pictures on her socials

And the TV favourite also concedes she’s a clean freak, meaning every service on the ground floor can be wiped fresh.

Speaking to The Mirror, she explained: ‘I am house proud, but I’ve got two kids, two dogs and a cat, so it’s a family house. Everything is washable and wipeable.

‘It’s so open plan my littlest can cycle her bike around. ‘I don’t have carpets on the ground floor – and this is disgusting – but I was doing an interview a while ago and my puppy pooed on the floor during the chat.

‘But you don’t worry if you have wooden floors. Two words: wipe clean.’

Amanda, who designed a homeware range for shopping network QVC, is so into interior design she believes it could eventually become a day job – if she ever loses her looks.

She added: ‘I want this to be a legacy. When my face falls off and all the telly work dries up, this is actually where I want to be.’ 

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Russian TV host refuses to apologise for report on mock nuclear attack on Ireland

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The Russian state television host who broadcast a graphic of a simulated nuclear attack destroying Ireland has rejected a request from Taoiseach Micheál Martin to apologise for the programme.

In a follow-up report broadcast on state-owned television channel Russia-1 on Sunday night, television host Dmitry Kiselyov refused to apologise for the animated graphic broadcast earlier this month showing a nuclear strike off the Irish coast erasing Ireland and Britain from the map.

On Sunday’s programme, Kiselyov, a Kremlin supporter and state propagandist, described Ireland as “collateral damage” in a potential nuclear attack by Russia on the UK in any escalation of tensions between the countries over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

While distinguishing between Ireland, a neutral country, and the UK, Kiselyov repeated the assertion in the original report that “the whole British archipelago was basically a sinkable island” and that Russia has “every capability for such a nuclear retaliation”.

Referring to Irish political and public reaction to the original report broadcast at the start of this month, the Russian TV host said: “Ireland literally flew into a rage. Of course as a neutral country, it wasn’t nice for Ireland to become collateral damage in Britain’s clash with Russia.”

The news report, according to a translation tweeted by the BBC digital journalist Francis Scarr who monitors Russian state television, quoted the Taoiseach describing the Russian media report as “very sinister, intimidatory tactics by the Russian Federation”.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to be intimidated by it. I think it reflects a mindset that is worrying and not in touch with reality. I think there should be an apology forthcoming,” the Taoiseach was quoted as saying on the Russian programme against a photograph of Mr Martin.

Kiselyov said he completely agreed that an apology should be forthcoming but that it should come from British prime minister Boris Johnson, falsely claiming that the UK leader had made a “groundless threat to strike Russia” that had led to the original report and simulated attack.

“But we’re not intimidating anyone. Talking about capabilities has an anti-war modality. As they say, let’s not start. It will end badly. It’s better to live in peace,” said Kiselyov.

Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland South Billy Kelleher said the Russian state-owned station still owed an apology to the Taoiseach and the Irish people over the report and mock attack.

He described the Russia presenter as “a mouthpiece” for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and that “anything said by him were effectively the official views from the Kremlin”.

“It shows how delusional their foreign policy is. It shows how removed they are from understanding what neutral countries are,” he said.

“It is indicative of Russia’s view of the world and how they believe they can obliterate a nation if they feel that is necessary to protect themselves even if there is no threat coming from Ireland.”

The reports on the Russian national broadcaster were “outrageous”, “completely unacceptable” and “indicative of the delusional state of the entire Putin regime,” he said.

“We simply cannot have what are official media outlets relaying huge threats to wipe Ireland off the face of the earth, a neutral country that has never once threatened Russia,” he said.

Labour Party foreign affairs spokesman Brendan Howlin TD described the host’s comments as “both delusional and menacing on a number of fronts”, including how the television station was conflating Ireland and Britain.

“Ireland is a neutral country but as the people of Ireland have very ably demonstrated in the last two months, we are not neutral in relation to the illegal and immoral assault on the people of Ukraine by Putin,” he said.

“We will not be intimidated by grandiose, farcical threats emanating from Russia. This is not a comic book; this is a painful reality for millions of Ukrainians.”



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Sirius Real Estate sells London business park for €18.8m (GB)

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Sirius Real Estate has agreed to the sale of an asset in Camberwell, London, for €18.8m (£16m), representing a NIY of circa 2%. The property formed part of the portfolio Sirius acquired in November 2021 with its purchase of BizSpace, the leading provider of regional light industrial, workshop, studio and out of town office units across the UK. The sale price represents a 94% premium to the valuation at the time of Sirius’ acquisition of BizSpace.

 

The multi-tenanted business park, which comprises approximately 34,700ft² of industrial and office space is 91% occupied following a series of asset management measures delivered through the BizSpace platform. The sale is expected to complete in July 2022.

 

Commenting on the transaction, Andrew Coombs, Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Real Estate, said: “This disposal is further proof of the latent value in the BizSpace portfolio we acquired late last year, the price being significantly ahead of last September’s valuation on which our purchase was based, and the attractive sale follows our recent announcement that we had since improved like-for-like rental income across the portfolio by 7.5%. The sale will allow us to invest in new opportunities for BizSpace in the UK as we continue to build our acquisition pipeline. Bringing together the Sirius and BizSpace platforms, with a strengthened management team at BizSpace, is already delivering strong results and operational synergies that will enhance our UK portfolio.”

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