Selling a Flat With High Service Charge

High service charges are increasingly becoming an issue for leasehold flat owners throughout the UK, and these fees can sometimes make selling the property more difficult.

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Your top questions when selling a flat with high service charge

✅ What are service charges at leasehold flats?

Leasehold flats are properties where you own the unit for a specific number of years in exchange for paying the freehold owner of the building and land a set ground rent, as well as a service charge, which covers costs that the freeholder faces in maintaining the building such as building insurance and a repairs fund that can be used for structural fixes to the property.

✅ Why can high service charges make it harder to sell a flat?

Some buyers might lose interest in making an offer on your property if it has a high service charge, because this can add a significant expense on top of whatever mortgage repayments, utility bills and other costs they would have if they buy your flat. Some service charges can be as high as several thousand pounds, making it much harder to attract potential buyers.

✅ Is there any way that I can challenge a high service charge on my flat?

Yes, you could consider pursuing a tribunal action against your freeholder if you believe that the service charge you are paying on your leasehold flat is unreasonable. If you win, this could force a lower service charge before you sell. However, this can be a lengthy, costly and complicated process and it would add a major delay on to your overall selling timeline.

✅ Can I sell my property even if it has a high service charge I can't get reduced?

Yes, although you may find it harder to attract certain individual buyers, you could still get a competitive and swift offer on your flat if you get in touch with LDN Properties or another quick buying company. These businesses are highly experienced at making fast and fair offers for so-called problem properties, such as leasehold flats that have high service charges.

✅ Is selling my flat with a high service charge to a quick buyer the speediest option?

Typically it will be, because these companies can finalise the process of purchasing a property within just a handful of weeks, and that includes exchanging contracts and paying you the full proceeds. Compare that to using an estate agent, selling via a property auction or selling without any assistance, which can all take at least many months or even longer.

✅ Will I need to pay commission on the sale of my flat that has a high service charge?

Not necessarily, and if you sell to either a zero-fee quick buyer such as LDN Properties or you sell without any third party help then you won’t have to pay any commission. But if you decide to sell your home at an auction or with an estate agent then they will make you pay commission that will be based on the sale price and subtracted right away from the sale proceeds.

✅ How do I know that quick buyers can be trusted with buying my flat?

Ask individual companies if they are members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO), an independent organisation that writes rules to guard homeowners from falling victim to fraud in the quick buying industry, and legitimate members must follow these regulations. If a company cannot prove that it belongs to TPO then be cautious of selling to them because it may be a scam.

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