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PennyPound

What A Total Waste Of Time

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I bought a leasehold flat in 2004, located in North Kent. I thought with Ebbsfleet International Rail to open in 2008 (which it did) close by, and the fast train to London to start on December 2009, I can't go wrong. Prices will not drop for this flat. Wrong. After a failed attempt to sell it a year and a half ago, I tried again this May and I just had the contracts exchanged. I made a loss of £15,000 on the price that I bought it in 2004. If I take into account the costs of buying and selling it is even a greater loss.

The flat has been a constant worry. From having to find tenants every 6-10 months, to having to deal with disorganised letting agencies and a very sluggish service from a greedy Management company that oversees the communal areas.

And when I gone into the process of selling it, the Management company refused to give any information to my solicitor, unless I forked out (which I did) £200 + VAT for a "sales pack". The company that collects the ground rent payments, wanted £80 +VAT for a simple receipt that confirms payment of the ground rent for 2009. (No, I didn't pay the later as I had already the receipt).

I followed the advice of Dr Bubb regarding the last "window of opportunity" for selling this summer, and I did sell it, albeit at a loss. I feel I had caused myself a financial loss, but hopefully I prevented an even greater loss further down the line. I do though feel a huge relief for not having to deal with letting agencies, Management Companies, the Ground rent collectors, Council Tax demands, etc. A worry free, peaceful life is what I am aiming for.

PennyPound

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The flat has been a constant worry. From having to find tenants every 6-10 months, to having to deal with disorganised letting agencies and a very sluggish service from a greedy Management company that oversees the communal areas.

And when I gone into the process of selling it, the Management company refused to give any information to my solicitor, unless I forked out (which I did) £200 + VAT for a "sales pack". The company that collects the ground rent payments, wanted £80 +VAT for a simple receipt that confirms payment of the ground rent for 2009. (No, I didn't pay the later as I had already the receipt).

PennyPound

So you do not recommend buying to let then.?

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I bought a leasehold flat in 2004, located in North Kent. I thought with Ebbsfleet International Rail to open in 2008 (which it did) close by, and the fast train to London to start on December 2009, I can't go wrong. Prices will not drop for this flat. Wrong. After a failed attempt to sell it a year and a half ago, I tried again this May and I just had the contracts exchanged. I made a loss of £15,000 on the price that I bought it in 2004. If I take into account the costs of buying and selling it is even a greater loss.

Serves you right.

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I want to understand how management companies can get away with such crap service, you never hear of a good one!

This is very common in blocks with a lot of 'absentee' landlords. Many inexperienced landlords may decline to get involved with the process of managing a residential block.

The particular problem comes with the freeholders. When the block is completed, the builder owns the freehold and as freeholder employs a property manager, although the residents may be asked for their assistance (e.g. a post as director on a shell 'management company'). Usually, after a few years, the developer will often want to sell the freehold, as they want the cash. There are usually plenty of investors who would like to buy the freehold, as it is a very secure permanent fixed income, which is almost completely hands-off. Basically, you can get 9-10% yield just by sending out a few invoices, with absolute security, because if a leaseholder runs into arrears, you simply terminate the lease, evict them, and sell a new lease - this actually gives the freeholder more incentive to posess to recoup arrears than the mortgagee - if the mortgagee reposesses, they take what they are owed at sale and the owner gets the rest. If the freeholder posesses, they get full proceeds of the sale, and the leaseholder and mortgagee get nothing.

The problem is that there are a lot of investors and property companies that specialise in ground rents - and they often invest in freeholds to maximize income. So, you get things like £80+VAT for a receipt. £150+VAT for permission to replace the boiler. £150+VAT for permission to have the double glazed windows replaced, etc.

The residents have the absolute right to first refusal, should the freeholder wish to sell. However, in order for the residents to buy the freehold, they must a) Hold a vote and clearly show a majority wish to make the purchase. B) Be able to raise sufficient funds (which may be over £100k) to purchase the freehold - which generally means having an organised Ltd company with residents as directors. In areas with high levels of absentee landlords, there is often not the motivation to serve as an unpaid company director and such comapnies may not be sufficiently organised to be able to secure appropriate mortgage finance to buy the freehold - not to mention, that commercial long-term fixed (25 year) mortgage rates are sufficiently high, that the repayments would likely exceed the ground rent income. This negative cashflow is often undersirable to absentee landlords who are interested in the management of the building. So, even though there are massive advantages to owning a share of freehold, in blocks with high levels of rented flats, the owner occupiers may be outvoted by landlords looking for a quick profit.

The problem is that once the freehold has been sold, you can bet that the investor will never want to dispose of it. So, the residents are stuck. Again, people need to be aware that if you are buying new-build, you need to know who else is buying. If it's lots of landlords, beware because if they let the freehold go, you could be paying a very high price over the rest of the time that you live there. If you are going to be buying a leasehold property, be very sure exactly who holds the freehold - ideally, you want to make sure that you are buying a share in the freehold.

However, if you have an interested group of owner occupiers and a share of freehold, then it is very easy for the residents to operate the management company - which usually means contracting it out to a property management agent. I currently live in a pretty decent block, which is share of freehold and we have an absolutely superb management. The original company appointed by the developer was utter rubbish, and a liability (water was supplied communally, and the bill was not paid, threatening disconnection; lifts not serviced or insured and emergency phone bills not paid so they were disconnected; communal area electricity bill not paid and reminders ignored such that the electricity supplier actually turned up with a warrant to disconnect the power - a concerned resident wrote a personal cheque and defused the situation, etc.)

The current management is structured as a Ltd company with a number of owner occupiers as directors. They in turn subcontract the actual job of management to an estate agent, who is very efficient and ensures that maintenance is prompt, bills are all paid, accounts are kept up to date, legal issues are dealt with promptly, etc. However, they do take a big fee - they charge about £10 per flat per month to do the work. However, that fee is added into the management fee - and apart from the monthly fee, there are no hidden charges. No fee for permission to change the boiler. No fees to sell a flat. No fees for receipts.

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I agree flats are generally a waste of time buying a flat in 2004 and selling it in this summer was really bad timing, since the summer prices have been rising

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I agree flats are generally a waste of time buying a flat in 2004 and selling it in this summer was really bad timing, since the summer prices have been rising

If I didn't sell this summer when the sentiment was high at a price that made the flat very attractive to a buyer with a good deposit and who is not in a chain, I might be still waiting. I don't think it will take a long time for the market to take another dive downwards.

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If I didn't sell this summer when the sentiment was high at a price that made the flat very attractive to a buyer with a good deposit and who is not in a chain, I might be still waiting. I don't think it will take a long time for the market to take another dive downwards.

What sort of rents were you getting in 2004 and in 2008?

At the end of the day, the returns you get from the investment are a function of the income.

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Its an expensive lesson, but at least you have learnt from it. You could have been 'lucky' and experienced winners curse which would have blinded you to the downside of property ownership and rental, encouraging you to leverage up Grant Bovey style.

Perhaps next time a boom bust cycle comes around you will be able to take advantage of it with your experience. At least now you have peace of mind, which is priceless.

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This is very common in blocks with a lot of 'absentee' landlords. Many inexperienced landlords may decline to get involved with the process of managing a residential block.

The particular problem comes with the freeholders. When the block is completed, the builder owns the freehold and as freeholder employs a property manager, although the residents may be asked for their assistance (e.g. a post as director on a shell 'management company'). Usually, after a few years, the developer will often want to sell the freehold, as they want the cash. There are usually plenty of investors who would like to buy the freehold, as it is a very secure permanent fixed income, which is almost completely hands-off. Basically, you can get 9-10% yield just by sending out a few invoices, with absolute security, because if a leaseholder runs into arrears, you simply terminate the lease, evict them, and sell a new lease - this actually gives the freeholder more incentive to posess to recoup arrears than the mortgagee - if the mortgagee reposesses, they take what they are owed at sale and the owner gets the rest. If the freeholder posesses, they get full proceeds of the sale, and the leaseholder and mortgagee get nothing.

The problem is that there are a lot of investors and property companies that specialise in ground rents - and they often invest in freeholds to maximize income. So, you get things like £80+VAT for a receipt. £150+VAT for permission to replace the boiler. £150+VAT for permission to have the double glazed windows replaced, etc.

The residents have the absolute right to first refusal, should the freeholder wish to sell. However, in order for the residents to buy the freehold, they must a) Hold a vote and clearly show a majority wish to make the purchase. B) Be able to raise sufficient funds (which may be over £100k) to purchase the freehold - which generally means having an organised Ltd company with residents as directors. In areas with high levels of absentee landlords, there is often not the motivation to serve as an unpaid company director and such comapnies may not be sufficiently organised to be able to secure appropriate mortgage finance to buy the freehold - not to mention, that commercial long-term fixed (25 year) mortgage rates are sufficiently high, that the repayments would likely exceed the ground rent income. This negative cashflow is often undersirable to absentee landlords who are interested in the management of the building. So, even though there are massive advantages to owning a share of freehold, in blocks with high levels of rented flats, the owner occupiers may be outvoted by landlords looking for a quick profit.

The problem is that once the freehold has been sold, you can bet that the investor will never want to dispose of it. So, the residents are stuck. Again, people need to be aware that if you are buying new-build, you need to know who else is buying. If it's lots of landlords, beware because if they let the freehold go, you could be paying a very high price over the rest of the time that you live there. If you are going to be buying a leasehold property, be very sure exactly who holds the freehold - ideally, you want to make sure that you are buying a share in the freehold.

However, if you have an interested group of owner occupiers and a share of freehold, then it is very easy for the residents to operate the management company - which usually means contracting it out to a property management agent. I currently live in a pretty decent block, which is share of freehold and we have an absolutely superb management. The original company appointed by the developer was utter rubbish, and a liability (water was supplied communally, and the bill was not paid, threatening disconnection; lifts not serviced or insured and emergency phone bills not paid so they were disconnected; communal area electricity bill not paid and reminders ignored such that the electricity supplier actually turned up with a warrant to disconnect the power - a concerned resident wrote a personal cheque and defused the situation, etc.)

The current management is structured as a Ltd company with a number of owner occupiers as directors. They in turn subcontract the actual job of management to an estate agent, who is very efficient and ensures that maintenance is prompt, bills are all paid, accounts are kept up to date, legal issues are dealt with promptly, etc. However, they do take a big fee - they charge about £10 per flat per month to do the work. However, that fee is added into the management fee - and apart from the monthly fee, there are no hidden charges. No fee for permission to change the boiler. No fees to sell a flat. No fees for receipts.

This is an extremely clear and informative explanation, ChumpusRex.

Indeed my flat was in a big development of 100 flats. Most of the leaseholders were buy to let landords. The builder had the freehold and sold it off to another company, who employed yet another company to collect the ground rents.

If I ever buy another flat again, I will follow your advice and make sure that the purchase includes a share of the freehold. The flat should also be in a small development (<20 flats)

There are many people and companies that make so much money out of leaseholds without providing any added value.

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What sort of rents were you getting in 2004 and in 2008?

At the end of the day, the returns you get from the investment are a function of the income.

The flat was a two bedroom flat with a side view of the Thames. In 2004 the rent was £675. The next two tenancies were £650 and £625 respectively. I was very lucky with the last tenant (left in March 2009) as I got £725 (the highest). After that though and despite advertising it at £625 I did not manage to find a tenant. After a two month vacant period I decided to sell it. After paying for the letting agency, the Management company and taking into account an average of 2.5 months of vacant period between tenants, it was not much of an investment.

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Bit of misinformation here....residents can still appoint directors and fire and direct a management company WITHOUT having to coff up and buy the freehold itself, just need a decent percentage of residents to vote for it. You can really manage costs and prioritise spending.

Note that being a director brings responsiblities, you could get sued if things went really wrong ....

Go to typical suburbia, you will wish you did have a lease to enforce on your neigbours .....

Edited by mercsl

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I bought a leasehold flat in 2004, located in North Kent. I thought with Ebbsfleet International Rail to open in 2008 (which it did) close by, and the fast train to London to start on December 2009, I can't go wrong. Prices will not drop for this flat. Wrong. After a failed attempt to sell it a year and a half ago, I tried again this May and I just had the contracts exchanged. I made a loss of £15,000 on the price that I bought it in 2004. If I take into account the costs of buying and selling it is even a greater loss.

The flat has been a constant worry. From having to find tenants every 6-10 months, to having to deal with disorganised letting agencies and a very sluggish service from a greedy Management company that oversees the communal areas.

And when I gone into the process of selling it, the Management company refused to give any information to my solicitor, unless I forked out (which I did) £200 + VAT for a "sales pack". The company that collects the ground rent payments, wanted £80 +VAT for a simple receipt that confirms payment of the ground rent for 2009. (No, I didn't pay the later as I had already the receipt).

I followed the advice of Dr Bubb regarding the last "window of opportunity" for selling this summer, and I did sell it, albeit at a loss. I feel I had caused myself a financial loss, but hopefully I prevented an even greater loss further down the line. I do though feel a huge relief for not having to deal with letting agencies, Management Companies, the Ground rent collectors, Council Tax demands, etc. A worry free, peaceful life is what I am aiming for.

PennyPound

In other news, the Pope's a Catholic.

I mean, seriously, isn't all of this obvious to anyone who frequents this site? :unsure::blink::huh:

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Although I wouldn't say it was either well done or good decision, it was still noble of you to admit you made a mistake. Getting out while you still can (in a illiquid asset) is no mean feat. You sound like one of the folks who were caught up in the relentless spin from the property bulls. Chalk this up to experience and good luck to you!

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This is very common in blocks with a lot of 'absentee' landlords. Many inexperienced landlords may decline to get involved with the process of managing a residential block.

The particular problem comes with the freeholders. When the block is completed, the builder owns the freehold and as freeholder employs a property manager, although the residents may be asked for their assistance (e.g. a post as director on a shell 'management company'). Usually, after a few years, the developer will often want to sell the freehold, as they want the cash. There are usually plenty of investors who would like to buy the freehold, as it is a very secure permanent fixed income, which is almost completely hands-off. Basically, you can get 9-10% yield just by sending out a few invoices, with absolute security, because if a leaseholder runs into arrears, you simply terminate the lease, evict them, and sell a new lease - this actually gives the freeholder more incentive to posess to recoup arrears than the mortgagee - if the mortgagee reposesses, they take what they are owed at sale and the owner gets the rest. If the freeholder posesses, they get full proceeds of the sale, and the leaseholder and mortgagee get nothing.

The problem is that there are a lot of investors and property companies that specialise in ground rents - and they often invest in freeholds to maximize income. So, you get things like £80+VAT for a receipt. £150+VAT for permission to replace the boiler. £150+VAT for permission to have the double glazed windows replaced, etc.

The residents have the absolute right to first refusal, should the freeholder wish to sell. However, in order for the residents to buy the freehold, they must a) Hold a vote and clearly show a majority wish to make the purchase. B) Be able to raise sufficient funds (which may be over £100k) to purchase the freehold - which generally means having an organised Ltd company with residents as directors. In areas with high levels of absentee landlords, there is often not the motivation to serve as an unpaid company director and such comapnies may not be sufficiently organised to be able to secure appropriate mortgage finance to buy the freehold - not to mention, that commercial long-term fixed (25 year) mortgage rates are sufficiently high, that the repayments would likely exceed the ground rent income. This negative cashflow is often undersirable to absentee landlords who are interested in the management of the building. So, even though there are massive advantages to owning a share of freehold, in blocks with high levels of rented flats, the owner occupiers may be outvoted by landlords looking for a quick profit.

The problem is that once the freehold has been sold, you can bet that the investor will never want to dispose of it. So, the residents are stuck. Again, people need to be aware that if you are buying new-build, you need to know who else is buying. If it's lots of landlords, beware because if they let the freehold go, you could be paying a very high price over the rest of the time that you live there. If you are going to be buying a leasehold property, be very sure exactly who holds the freehold - ideally, you want to make sure that you are buying a share in the freehold.

However, if you have an interested group of owner occupiers and a share of freehold, then it is very easy for the residents to operate the management company - which usually means contracting it out to a property management agent. I currently live in a pretty decent block, which is share of freehold and we have an absolutely superb management. The original company appointed by the developer was utter rubbish, and a liability (water was supplied communally, and the bill was not paid, threatening disconnection; lifts not serviced or insured and emergency phone bills not paid so they were disconnected; communal area electricity bill not paid and reminders ignored such that the electricity supplier actually turned up with a warrant to disconnect the power - a concerned resident wrote a personal cheque and defused the situation, etc.)

The current management is structured as a Ltd company with a number of owner occupiers as directors. They in turn subcontract the actual job of management to an estate agent, who is very efficient and ensures that maintenance is prompt, bills are all paid, accounts are kept up to date, legal issues are dealt with promptly, etc. However, they do take a big fee - they charge about £10 per flat per month to do the work. However, that fee is added into the management fee - and apart from the monthly fee, there are no hidden charges. No fee for permission to change the boiler. No fees to sell a flat. No fees for receipts.

Thank you for that detailed post ChumpusRex. I am about to exchange on a new build 1 bed flat in Surrey which is a development of 129 flats. Im going to be living in the flat but I know that a good proportion of the flats are rented. You have described exactly the situation which I may find myself in within a few years time. Would you happen to know the timescale for when developers look to sell the freehold as I would ideally like to have sold the flat and got out by then. Thanks.

Edited by DeadCat

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Bit of misinformation here....residents can still appoint directors and fire and direct a management company WITHOUT having to coff up and buy the freehold itself, just need a decent percentage of residents to vote for it. You can really manage costs and prioritise spending.

Note that being a director brings responsiblities, you could get sued if things went really wrong ....

Go to typical suburbia, you will wish you did have a lease to enforce on your neigbours .....

Yes, you are right. I hadn't meant to imply that the freeholder had all rights. I was just a bit careless.

The residents can form their own management company and sack the management company appointed by the freeholder, even if there is a seperate freeholder, and can do so for any reason. This is a basic right of owners of leases. This can occur whether the management company was appointed by the original developer or a later investor.

Basically, as long as a vote of flat owners shows a clear majority in favour of forming a management company, then they are able to serve notice on the freeholder and take over the management of the building.

It is also possible for residents to forcibly buy the freehold - the democratic process is similar to that above (but landlords with 3 or more flats cannot vote, and they must account for no more than 33% of the flats - if more than 33% of flats are owned by large landlords, then the residents cannot force the freeholder to sell). There are also additional legal and financial hoops to jump through. As it involves the residents getting valuations/surveys done (at their own cost), then serving formal notice on the freeholder, followed by formal negotiation, as well as paying all the freeholder's legal fees.

If the freeholder wants to sell, or they receive an offer to buy, then the residents get first refusal (again, a democratic process is used, but the restrictions on participation of large landlords are less severe). If the freeholder receives an offer, they must pass details of the offer to the residents, giving them the option (if they qualify) to match it. Alternatively, the freeholder may wish to sell the freehold at auction, in which case the residents will be informed of this, and when the auction completes, the residents have the option of matching the highest bid.

In terms of timescale, this varies - but 2-5 years is usually about right. It depends how keen investors are snap up the freeholds - some companies keep watch on new developments and will approach the developers when they think the time is right.

So, the residents do have significant rights - but they become progressively more difficult to qualify for, and progressively more expensive.

Easiest is to take over the management company.

More difficult is to buy the freehold, after the freeholder has announced he is intending to sell.

Most difficult is to force the freeholder to sell to the residents.

Although most of the benefit comes from taking over the management company, the freeholder does have some responsibilities and rights:

the freeholder has the right to collect ground rents, and is responsible for arranging the insurance of the fabric of the building (but they are not responsible for the cost of insurance). Note the possibility of a conflict of interest here - the freeholder must insure the building, but they don't have to pay the cost of insurance - a common trick is for the freeholder to find an insurer who pays a large commission for bringing them the business.

The freeholder also has the right to create new leases, or to extend existing leases (of debateable relevance for modern blocks of flats, as modern leaseholds are for 999 years - but may be important for older blocks).

As the freeholder is responsible for the structure of the building, any modification to the structure must be with the freeholder's permission - This is not just obvious structural changes, e.g. if the building is to be extended, or the roof converted into a roof garden, etc. but anything that falls under 'building regulations'. E.g. any installation of new gas equipment (e.g. boiler), or replacement of anything with significant energy efficiency implications (e.g. windows).

The risk for residents who do not own the freehold is that the freeholder with charge very high admin fees for anything they can possibly do so, not to mention the requirement to pay the ground rent. Given that ground rents are a lucrative long-term investment, it is financially best for the residents to own the freehold so that they may extinguish the ground rents.

Finally, just because the residents have bought the freehold and taken over the management, doesn't mean all is hunky dory. It's entirely possible that the residents appointed as directors of the management company are completely incompetent. It's conceivable that they are so incompetent that they forgot to put a note in the company's articles of association stating how directors are appointed - preventing them from being sacked (this story, as told to me, is probably apocryphal) :ph34r:

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I bought a leasehold flat in 2004, located in North Kent. I thought with Ebbsfleet International Rail to open in 2008 (which it did) close by, and the fast train to London to start on December 2009, I can't go wrong. Prices will not drop for this flat. Wrong. After a failed attempt to sell it a year and a half ago, I tried again this May and I just had the contracts exchanged. I made a loss of £15,000 on the price that I bought it in 2004. If I take into account the costs of buying and selling it is even a greater loss.

The flat has been a constant worry. From having to find tenants every 6-10 months, to having to deal with disorganised letting agencies and a very sluggish service from a greedy Management company that oversees the communal areas.

And when I gone into the process of selling it, the Management company refused to give any information to my solicitor, unless I forked out (which I did) £200 + VAT for a "sales pack". The company that collects the ground rent payments, wanted £80 +VAT for a simple receipt that confirms payment of the ground rent for 2009. (No, I didn't pay the later as I had already the receipt).

I followed the advice of Dr Bubb regarding the last "window of opportunity" for selling this summer, and I did sell it, albeit at a loss. I feel I had caused myself a financial loss, but hopefully I prevented an even greater loss further down the line. I do though feel a huge relief for not having to deal with letting agencies, Management Companies, the Ground rent collectors, Council Tax demands, etc. A worry free, peaceful life is what I am aiming for.

PennyPound

Even worse when you consider how much you would have spent on the property since 2004. Any home owner will know how much it costs annually to maintain a house. Plumbing, locks, decorating, windows, new kitchens and bathrooms...I think the average is a couple of thousand every year.

Although my wife would argue otherwise, I think owning a house on a large mortgage is not peaceful or worry free. I paid £120,000 in 2004 it was valued two years ago at £150,000. I've spent over £10,000 on the property and now its worth £99,000. If I consider that all the work was done by myself and with the huge discounts I get from my suppliers then the actual cost of the work would be close to £30,000. New Roof, new bathroom, new electrics, new windows and a new kitchen.

I long for the days of renting a house for £400.00 pcm and having all the repairs done for me. Going on lavish holidays and spending weekends with my family rather than maintaining my house....which is what I do for my customers 7.00 am to 8.00 pm every day.

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I bought a leasehold flat in 2004, located in North Kent. I thought with Ebbsfleet International Rail to open in 2008 (which it did) close by, and the fast train to London to start on December 2009, I can't go wrong. Prices will not drop for this flat. Wrong. After a failed attempt to sell it a year and a half ago, I tried again this May and I just had the contracts exchanged. I made a loss of £15,000 on the price that I bought it in 2004. If I take into account the costs of buying and selling it is even a greater loss.

The flat has been a constant worry. From having to find tenants every 6-10 months, to having to deal with disorganised letting agencies and a very sluggish service from a greedy Management company that oversees the communal areas.

And when I gone into the process of selling it, the Management company refused to give any information to my solicitor, unless I forked out (which I did) £200 + VAT for a "sales pack". The company that collects the ground rent payments, wanted £80 +VAT for a simple receipt that confirms payment of the ground rent for 2009. (No, I didn't pay the later as I had already the receipt).

I followed the advice of Dr Bubb regarding the last "window of opportunity" for selling this summer, and I did sell it, albeit at a loss. I feel I had caused myself a financial loss, but hopefully I prevented an even greater loss further down the line. I do though feel a huge relief for not having to deal with letting agencies, Management Companies, the Ground rent collectors, Council Tax demands, etc. A worry free, peaceful life is what I am aiming for.

PennyPound

Good post, a salutary warning.

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Even worse when you consider how much you would have spent on the property since 2004. Any home owner will know how much it costs annually to maintain a house. Plumbing, locks, decorating, windows, new kitchens and bathrooms...I think the average is a couple of thousand every year.

Although my wife would argue otherwise, I think owning a house on a large mortgage is not peaceful or worry free. I paid £120,000 in 2004 it was valued two years ago at £150,000. I've spent over £10,000 on the property and now its worth £99,000. If I consider that all the work was done by myself and with the huge discounts I get from my suppliers then the actual cost of the work would be close to £30,000. New Roof, new bathroom, new electrics, new windows and a new kitchen.

I long for the days of renting a house for £400.00 pcm and having all the repairs done for me. Going on lavish holidays and spending weekends with my family rather than maintaining my house....which is what I do for my customers 7.00 am to 8.00 pm every day.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Dudsie. It puts in perspective my financial loss (doesn't seem so bad in comparison).

Mine was a new built flat when I bought it in 2004, and apart from a fresh lick of paint and buying a fridge and washing machine, it did not incur other costs. Apart that is of the average 2.5 months vacant periods between tenants, when mortgage had to be paid with no rental income coming in.

If I did not sell it though, I would have had to change all the carpets prior to having it rent again. The Management company will be redecorating the building next year, which will also incur further costs.

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Sooooooooooooo, if a group of people wanted to pi$$ off large numbers of parasites that had contributed to pricing them out of home ownership over the last few years, all they would have to do is club together and buy a freehold?

Interesting.

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Sooooooooooooo, if a group of people wanted to pi$$ off large numbers of parasites that had contributed to pricing them out of home ownership over the last few years, all they would have to do is club together and buy a freehold?

Interesting.

... a truly evil mind...

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I bought a leasehold flat in 2004, located in North Kent. I thought with Ebbsfleet International Rail to open in 2008 (which it did) close by, and the fast train to London to start on December 2009, I can't go wrong. Prices will not drop for this flat. Wrong. After a failed attempt to sell it a year and a half ago, I tried again this May and I just had the contracts exchanged. I made a loss of £15,000 on the price that I bought it in 2004. If I take into account the costs of buying and selling it is even a greater loss.

The flat has been a constant worry. From having to find tenants every 6-10 months, to having to deal with disorganised letting agencies and a very sluggish service from a greedy Management company that oversees the communal areas.

And when I gone into the process of selling it, the Management company refused to give any information to my solicitor, unless I forked out (which I did) £200 + VAT for a "sales pack". The company that collects the ground rent payments, wanted £80 +VAT for a simple receipt that confirms payment of the ground rent for 2009. (No, I didn't pay the later as I had already the receipt).

I followed the advice of Dr Bubb regarding the last "window of opportunity" for selling this summer, and I did sell it, albeit at a loss. I feel I had caused myself a financial loss, but hopefully I prevented an even greater loss further down the line. I do though feel a huge relief for not having to deal with letting agencies, Management Companies, the Ground rent collectors, Council Tax demands, etc. A worry free, peaceful life is what I am aiming for.

PennyPound

Your problems have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that this was leasehold... your lack of understanding of that point shows how silly you were to get into property in the first place.

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Sooooooooooooo, if a group of people wanted to pi$$ off large numbers of parasites that had contributed to pricing them out of home ownership over the last few years, all they would have to do is club together and buy a freehold?

Interesting.

I'm not sure you've got the right end of the stick. The only people with the right to purchase a freehold are the lease holders (if a min of 50% want to buy it). The only person that this would potentially piss off is the landlord owning the freehold.

Besides, this won't really have had an effect on property affordability as landlords are not allowed to charge unreasoble ground rent.

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