We have written several articles recently surrounding building safety, and how those who find themselves caught in the middle of the issues might handle it. However, thought should also be given to those who are contemplating buying a flat.

It is of fundamental importance to those buying a property to feel as though what they are buying is a good investment, but not only that – and particularly if it is to be their home – whether the property is safe.

In order to assist in navigating this issue, we would suggest thinking over the questions below:-

  1. Does the property require works to make it safe?

This question should be raised early on with the selling agent or your solicitor. If you feel you are not getting a straight answer from the seller, perhaps ask for early disclosure from their solicitor of the leasehold sales pack, this should contain details of upcoming major works. Also, consult with your surveyor.

  1. If works are required – who will pay for it?

Works related to fire safety are far reaching, whether this is works to external wall systems, balconies, internal fire breaks etc. Generally, unless government funding or third-party claims are available, the cost of those works will likely fall to the leasehold owners. Find out how much is planned to be spent and how much is in any sinking/reserve fund and whether this will be utilised.

  1. If works are required – when will the costs be required to be paid?

The government has entertained the idea of interest backed loans for fire safety works, but these have not been introduced and may not cover everything. Make sure that you flesh out whether the works are required to be paid in a lump sum, or in stages.

  1. If works are required – how disruptive will they be?

If external and internal works are required, it might be you would have to vacate the property while that is done. If so, the cost might also be passed on via service charges (the lease would have to be checked to ensure that is permitted).

If you have any queries in relation to purchasing a flat, whether this is to live in, or an investment, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Building Safety Team via Ian Seeley, Joe Brightman, Molly Frankham or James King. Or drop us at email at buildingsafety@ellisonssolicitors.com.