Should I get a structural survey done for a large flat?
Tuesday 9th March 2021
Carl O'Boyle BSc MRICS FCIOB MFPWS
We were asked at Tayross Chartered Building Surveyors to do a detailed building and structural survey to a large ground floor flat in Maida Vale.
The reason that you need to do a structural survey on a leasehold flat within a freehold property is because ultimately any structural defects to that freehold will ultimately be shared with the leaseholders.
In this particular flat we discovered that the roof was in very poor condition, there were also extensive damp issues and the windows needed replacing to the top floor. I find generally that the external condition of properties with leasehold flats are in need of extensive works. Leaseholders tend to concern themselves only with the internal areas of their property and neglect to put funds aside for works that are required to the external envelope and communal areas. Unfortunately over time some of these items can no longer be ignored and in certain circumstances mean that whole replacement may be required. If there is not a sinking fund then new leaseholders have not carried out a proper detailed structural building survey, in some instances they can sometimes find themselves liable to pay for unforeseen works. In this particular instance we calculated that there was at least £40,000 off replacement works required for the roof and a further £25,000.00 for pointing and damp issues both rising and lateral.
Unfortunately it is like musical chairs, someone gets caught out at the end. When buying a leasehold flat you should ensure that there is a sinking fund in place for long-term repairs so that you do not get caught out if something goes wrong.
For this reason I would always recommend carrying out a full detailed building and structural assessment of the leasehold property especially within an older block.