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Neverland

Canary Wharf Service Charges

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I've been thinking of selling up a flat in central london and buying another in Canary Wharf

I've seen prices have fallen a bit and could see they might well fall a bit more (because of less bankers working at the wharf)

My concern has always been the service charges looked high and if you capitalised them them it added £100ls on the flat price

What are people paying and do they think its good value?

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I've been trying to buy a place in Canary Wharf too. Service charges are definitely an issue for the new build developments, and they're even higher in the old warehouse conversions. The more services that are offered by the management agent the more you tend to pay; so places with swimming pools and valet parking (e.g. New Providence Wharf) tend to be higher.

I recently had a deal fall through (long story) and the service charge for that 2-bed with parking, was to be £2040 for 2009. Paying something like £3500 per year for a 2-bed with parking, gym, swimming pool, 24-hour concierge is not uncommon. You'll pay less for a 1-bed place than a 2-bed.

Two other things to remember. Service charges always go up -- every year there's an increase, they never come down. Estate Agents always lie about how much you'll be paying -- they'll tell you the amount from two years ago or they'll just brazenly lie about it.

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I've been trying to buy a place in Canary Wharf too. Service charges are definitely an issue for the new build developments, and they're even higher in the old warehouse conversions. The more services that are offered by the management agent the more you tend to pay; so places with swimming pools and valet parking (e.g. New Providence Wharf) tend to be higher.

I recently had a deal fall through (long story) and the service charge for that 2-bed with parking, was to be £2040 for 2009. Paying something like £3500 per year for a 2-bed with parking, gym, swimming pool, 24-hour concierge is not uncommon. You'll pay less for a 1-bed place than a 2-bed.

Two other things to remember. Service charges always go up -- every year there's an increase, they never come down. Estate Agents always lie about how much you'll be paying -- they'll tell you the amount from two years ago or they'll just brazenly lie about it.

Thanks hasnt changed much then...

I pay £350 a quarter in my current block including a sinking fund contribution

No lift or any fancy stuff, so that £1400 a year :huh:

The £2040 you quote sounds ok, but if you take £3500 a year thats maybe £2000 above what I'm paying now :blink:

I'd capitalise that at 5% and call it £40k :angry:

I think I'll leave the wharf thing for now...

Edited by Neverland

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I used to own a 2 bed on the Isle of Dogs. Small block, no pool, but had a concierge. That was £3k a year, but included water rates and buildings insurance.

I hated living there as the block just got scruffier and the managing agents were hopeless, we had a tramp living in the stairwell for a while.

I viewed a flat in Burrels Wharf at the start of last year. 3 beds, 1100 sq ft with a terrace off the bedroom, very shabby and on the 3rd floor with no lift. They wanted £630k for it (If I remember rightly). Even worse than that, the service charge was £600 a month! I actually laughed out loud when the owner told me.

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I used to own a 2 bed on the Isle of Dogs. Small block, no pool, but had a concierge. That was £3k a year, but included water rates and buildings insurance.

I hated living there as the block just got scruffier and the managing agents were hopeless, we had a tramp living in the stairwell for a while.

I viewed a flat in Burrels Wharf at the start of last year. 3 beds, 1100 sq ft with a terrace off the bedroom, very shabby and on the 3rd floor with no lift. They wanted £630k for it (If I remember rightly). Even worse than that, the service charge was £600 a month! I actually laughed out loud when the owner told me.

Thanks ;)

£600 a month = £7200 per annum :unsure:

Knock off £1400 (my flat is actually about that size, strangely) ;)

Get you to £5800 per annum or £115k ata 5% discount / interest rate :blink:

Thats another near 20% on the cost.... :(

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Get you to £5800 per annum or £115k ata 5% discount / interest rate :blink:

Thats another near 20% on the cost.... :(

These charges are staggering. Managing agents must be making a killing- and/or channelling money to favoured contractors, or worse still, back to the property developer

2 points:

1) is there (or why isnt there) a broad movement to eject profiteering managing agents and replace them with leaseholders' associations run along mutual lines? Obviously not in the government's interest to facilitate this- must be a couple of billion in VAT each year from extortion.

2) With falling rents but rising service charges, surely the economics of BTL in Canary Wharf dont work going forward. Say for a 3 bed flat you are getting £2k rent a month but paying £600 service and other charges. On a £450k mortgage, breakeven interest rate is 3.75% (interest only). Even if you could find a mortgage at this rate, why bother?

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These charges are staggering. Managing agents must be making a killing- and/or channelling money to favoured contractors, or worse still, back to the property developer

is there (or why isn't there) a broad movement to eject profiteering managing agents and replace them with leaseholders associations run along mutual lines? Obviously not in the government's interest to facilitate this- must be a couple of billion in VAT each year from extortion.

Owners are not always powerless over service charges. A lot have Management Companies where the owners are members of the Management Company. As members they have the right to decide in general meeting how the company should be run, including who to appoint as managing agents. The decision on who to appoint might be delegated to the directors, but then the members have the right on who to appoint as directors. If the managing agents do not carry out their job properly then dismiss them and appoint another managing agent who will manage the property properly. Individual leaseholders also have the right to complain to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

In my development I exercised my right to become a director of the Management Company and I dismissed the incumbent (and incompetent) managing agents. Since I was appointed managing agent, services have improved and service charges have reduced.

The power is in your hands. Try this link: The Leasehold Advisory Service

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Are service charges in CW any worse than anywhere else in London?

Many blocks in CW have 24 hour porters, lifts, gyms, etc - these things dont come cheap!

£2k is the lowest annual charge I've seen in CW - £5k is not uncommon in blocks with lots of facilities.

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I found it extraordinary when selling my last house, that as a freehold house with 90' long garden was worth 10% psf LESS than an equivalent flat. Given also the flat had service charges with a capital value of 10-20%.

Made no sense whatsoever.

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I found it extraordinary when selling my last house, that as a freehold house with 90' long garden was worth 10% psf LESS than an equivalent flat. Given also the flat had service charges with a capital value of 10-20%.

Made no sense whatsoever.

Interesting, always thought you paid a premium for houses, at least in London?

Conversely, in holiday home type places in the UK I've seen a premium for flats (as easier to maintain)

At any rate I'd certainly pay a premium for a 90' garden ;)

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Inner London SE1. Not yet that popular with families. The discount for houses is narrowing.

I think I'll just wait thanks

Inactivity is my usual default position <_<

Its worked amazingly well over the last three years ;)

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Two other things to remember. Service charges always go up -- every year there's an increase, they never come down. Estate Agents always lie about how much you'll be paying -- they'll tell you the amount from two years ago or they'll just brazenly lie about it.

My first property was a flat and I did not realise any of the above. After a couple of years I swear I would never buy another flat hence my username!

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Are service charges in CW any worse than anywhere else in London?

Many blocks in CW have 24 hour porters, lifts, gyms, etc - these things dont come cheap!

£2k is the lowest annual charge I've seen in CW - £5k is not uncommon in blocks with lots of facilities.

They do it on purpose to inflate the price, when they build up these blocks. They put shops, gyms, and cab services, you name it. So not only it gives them a reason to inflate the service charges, but it's also a hell of a noisy place to live in. It's outrageous.

I live in East London, and my charges have actually gone up and down over time. Up when there were works to be done: painting, decorating, and it came down this year by quite a significant amount. I was paying £90 a month last year, but I had a free three months without any charges at all to compensate, and the costs have gone down now to £76 per month. The building is now completely as new: new carpets, new paint work (both outside and inside). Good as new.

The amount they charge depends on the management company who runs the building and in my case, they seem very reasonable about it.

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