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Move Home or Improve Your Leasehold Property? The Pros and Cons

on Wednesday, 09 May 2018.

Do you need more bedrooms for your growing family? Are you falling out of love with your house and thinking of moving? You might want to consider improving your home instead…

How  Expensive Is It to Move?

The cost of moving home is getting increasingly expensive. If you want to move to an £800,000 house, you will have to pay a minimum of £30,000 in Stamp Duty Land Tax. Add to this the legal and moving costs.

How Easy Is It To Improve My Property?

  • With a leasehold property, this can cause problems. A recent legal case illustrates this. Mr and Mrs Gorst obtained planning permission to make their cellar into habitable space. This involved digging down into the subsoil beneath. The freeholder opposed this plan, claiming that Mr and Mrs Gorst did not own the land surrounding the existing cellar. The court looked at the lease and came to the conclusion that the subsoil was not included in the demise of the flat. The landlord therefore had complete discretion as to whether to allow the basement extension.
  • The same principle applies if you live in the top floor of a block of flats and want to extend into the loft space.
  • Leases usually also require the landlord's consent to carry out any structural alterations. So even if you own your basement or loft space, you will need to consult your landlord.

The moral of the story is to be very careful to check your lease before you start planning to do any work. Moving house and paying all that SDLT may be worth it after all.

For more information, please contact David Marsden in our Commercial Property team on 01923 919 303.

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