Things to check about the property
Things to check about the property
How Do I Know What I Am Buying?
Conveyancing Direct will examine the title deeds carefully and send you a report in plain English on the title deeds of the property. This report should provide a plan of the property and a note of the conditions which may affect your enjoyment of the property.
What Sort of Conditions are There Likely to be?
Most houses have restrictions on business use, parking of vehicles, keeping pets, altering the property without council permission, construction and maintenance of boundary walls. Normally the public utilities like gas, water and electricity companies have rights to maintain their pipes and cable son your property provided they repair any damage.
You will also be required to insure and maintain your home, and not to use it for a purpose which would be a nuisance to neighbours. Some of these conditions might change due to major reforms to our system of property ownership Scotland.
Are There Any Special Conditions if I am Buying a Flat?
There are special conditions to protect flat owners. Certain parts of the building shared by flat owners should be held in common ownership by all flat owners in a building. These are normally:
outside and division walls
gutters and down pipes
close and stairs
sometimes even the attics are common (this can be important if you are buying a top floor flat)
How Are These Common Areas Managed? Who Pays For Their Maintenance?
In some parts of Scotland and particularly in modern flatted developments professional firms, factors or management agents are employed to co-ordinate repairs to these common areas under the direction of a majority of the flat owners in a building. The title deeds should indicate either what share each owner pays to maintain these common areas or mechanism to work it out. When you buy a flat you are liable to pay the factor's fee and charges which are normally charged on a quarterly or half yearly basis. Sometimes you also have to lodge a sum representing a factor's float which can run to a few hundred pounds which is refunded should you resell the property at some time in the future. If a flat owner fails to pay their share the owner can be sued by the flat owners or the factor, or the factor can attach a notice of potential liability to the title deed which normally means the property can't be sold without the debt to the factor being paid .
To maintain the value of all properties in the building it is in everyone's interest for these common areas to be maintained and paid for. In older properties there is often no factor appointed, so all the flat owners must arrange repairs on an informal or ad hoc basis among them. Conveyancing Direct will request details of any arrangements for these repairs if you are buying a flat.
Who is Responsible for Common Amenity Areas or Parks in the Development?
Most people imagine that the local council maintains all parkland and public access amenity areas. This is not the case. In most modern housing estates built since the 1970s the maintenance of public access areas is the responsibility of all the house owners in these estates.
Sometimes a professional factor is employed to arrange this work but sometimes residents' association deals with these responsibilities. Whatever means is used each owner bears a share of the costs involved. You may be asked to pay a float running to a few hundred pounds towards the cost of this work when you buy the house.
These owners can expect to receive a bill once or twice a year for grass maintenance depending on the extent of the public open space and the amount of landscaping involved.