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  • Leasehold Properties in the UK and the Effects of COVID-19 May 21, 2020

    Leasehold properties are among the most common type of properties you can find in the UK. Unlike other types of properties, with leasehold, you don’t physically have ownership of the land upon which that property is located. However, a person rents the said property for the stipulated period, it can range from just years to decades. They are mostly long-term contracts between a landlord and a tenant.

    Differences between Leasehold and Freehold properties

    These two types of properties differ in so many ways. Some of these differences are:

    • A leaseholder does not hold an absolute title over a property like it is a for freeholder.
    • As a leaseholder, you are expected to pay an annual ground fee to the landlord.
    • Depending on the agreement or contract, in most cases a leaseholder is not subject to similar maintenance responsibilities as a leaseholder.
    • The responsibility of maintenance mostly falls on freeholders unlike for leaseholders who transfer the responsibility to the landlord.
    • For leaseholders, the ability to sublet the premises or have pets may be restricted.
    • If a leaseholder wishes to carry out some work on the said property, the leaseholder is obliged to obtain permission from the landlord.
    Approximately 4.3 million homes all over England are leaseholds, this is according to the Ministry of Housing. Furthermore, about 69% of these leasehold properties are flats whereas the remaining 31% are standalone homes. This is a quite interesting fact because seemingly that property seekers in the UK find leasehold properties more appealing.


    Advantages and Disadvantages of Leasehold Properties

    Among the primary reasons why leaseholds are more appealing to buyers is the fact that these properties tend to be cheaper when compared to freehold properties. However, there are a few things to consider :

    • They are mostly the ideal options for individuals looking for short-term accommodation options.
    • Depending on the terms of a lease, the landlord may well cover deep cleaning including fumigation in case of an outbreak like coronavirus.
    • The responsibility of repairs and maintenance on things like roof replacement often falls on the landlord and not the leaseholder.
    • It is possible to buy such properties in future through enfranchisements among other schemes.
    Nonetheless, it is only wise to highlight some of the possible disadvantages of owning leaseholds. They may include :
    • Sometimes the service charges vary depending on the landlord.
    • There may be usage limitations sometimes.
    • The landlord is under no obligation to grand a lease renewal upon its expiry.
    • If you have a short-term lease, it may not be sufficient to represent collateral in case you wish to apply for a loan.
    • Many leasehold properties don’t contain a force majeure, which means that tenants may not claim a rent reduction when unable to use the premises like in hard times like during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    What to take into account when contemplating a leasehold property

    The period allotted for a lease is arguably the most important variable when it comes to considering a leasehold. You can easily determine this by taking the time to speak to the owner and carefully reading the terms and conditions of the leasehold. This is a very important fact to consider especially now when the COVID-19 outbreak is putting a lot of strain on leasehold premises occupiers. It is important to know what happens in case such events occur.

    In some cases, short-term leases can make it challenging to sell the property in future. If a lease has decades left to its termination are not always appealing to buyers. This is because buyers can have a challenge of having their mortgages approved. Even if you argue that the lease of property is frustrated and you cannot use the property because of COVID-19, you will have to portray that there is a form of intervening illegality. You may also have to show that there may be some failure of common purpose that makes the lease performance impossible. This may be a long shot because the threshold test to prove frustration is high.

    You may also need to closely examine if there are any lease associated service charges, any financial obligations or responsibilities you may be under. If you have a limited budget, these charges can eat you up. You can always look for other options if these variables are not expressly stated.

    Final Thoughts

    You have to understand that most leases favour the landlord. This means even during the coronavirus pandemic, the contracts may not favour you as a tenant. It is, therefore, very important o consider all the terms of the contract. It is also important to make sure that the terms are expressly stated. Nevertheless, these are some of the important variables when examining a potential leasehold property. In case you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.
  • 5 essential things you need to work at home during this Coronavirus crisis Mar 23, 2020

    As the coronavirus crisis worsens, many companies are looking to make moves that ensure their survival. One of the most popular choices instead of closing is working from home. If a company is able to continue its operations with its workers working from home, productivity will not be affected severely. This will help to minimize losses brought by the epidemic

    To work from home effectively, one needs adequate preparations. To begin with, one needs a stable system that interconnects him or her to the employer and other employees. Typically, most people go home to relax after work. This means that some adjustments will need to be carried out to make the home suitable for work.

    The following are five essential things that one can do to prepare to work from home adequately;


    1. Have a good computer system with an internet connection

    To work from home, you need the right tools. The primary tool you need to work from home is a computer with a good internet connection. The computer helps the user to go on with his or her job and to connect with various people or organisations through electronic communications.

    Working from home will require a little more from your home computer. Most home computers are used mainly for entertainment purposes. If you plan to use your home computer, ensure it has been recently serviced. This will help it to perform efficiently when exposed to a full day's work.


    2. Wok from a dedicated working space


    Despite what many people believe, working from home does not mean working from your couch. You need an actual workspace that is set up to act as an office. This place should be well organised and should have all the essentials of an office.

    Creating an office space also helps you to avoid being part of the activities going on at home. It also helps to put the worker in a working mood. To be productive, one needs to shift from home mood, which is usually relaxation and kicking it back.

    3. Set up a virtual data room


    A virtual data room, also known as a deal room, is a virtual secure online repository used to store, retrieve and distribute documents. Deal rooms are usually used during important business milestones that need documentation.

    You need a functional data room to store and share your important documents with your colleagues even as you wok to defeat the corona pandemic. A VDR will ensure that your company's documents are secure and can be accessed securely when the need arises.

    4. Work in clothes that are not pyjamas


    It is crucial to dress up even if you are working from home. This helps to shift your mind-set from a relaxed state to an alert and working mood. It may not be necessary to dress in a three-piece suit and a tie, but at least try to dress in regular working clothes and not your sleeping clothes.

    Once the workday is done, you can change into your regular home clothes and relax. Observing this dressing discipline helps one to maintain productivity even when working from home.


    5. Establish a time for working


    Working from home can be quite chaotic; many distractions compete for your attention. At home, there is never a shortage of disruptions, from your children to your neighbour's dog. The best way to stay focused is by maintaining a strict working schedule.

    Allow your working time not to be affected by anything. Make it well known to the people around you that work time is work time. Make it a habit to put on hold everything that emerges during this period. That way, you can remain productive despite the distractions.

    Finally, it is important to remember that the best way to fight the coronavirus is by minimizing contact. This will reduce the number of transmissions and eliminate new cases. Where possible, therefore, try to self-isolate and minimise contact with people and surfaces.

    Moreover, be on the lookout for people with fever, cough and other signs of ordinary flu. If you feel sick or you are experiencing these symptoms, visit a healthcare professional immediately for a check-up.
    Faisal Rehman likes this.
  • How will coronavirus affect the housing market? Mar 17, 2020

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    Coronavirus is sweeping the world, and this week, the UK ramped up its action plan to try and delay the spread of the disease. The impact on the economy is unclear, and many people are worried about the effects the health crisis might have on the property market.

    Brexit and the general election were the dominant news items for many months. However, the majority result for the Conservatives in early December led to the 'Boris bounce' - a general upturn in the housing market. This is now likely to be inexorably challenged by the onset of Covid-19. The global stock markets saw their steepest downward trajectory since 2008. Thursday was the worst day for the markets since 1987. The FTSE 100 index was decimated by 10.87%, while the Dow Jones ended the day with a 10% loss.

    Will Covid-19 harm the housing market?Although fears of the coronavirus have been widely reported since November, there has been little impact on the property market to date. Benham and Reeves, an estate agent in London, reported that it had had a higher rate of transactions in the last quarter than in the last year, probably as a result of Brexit uncertainty. The property market, in London at least, is strong as buyers and sellers feel released from the constraints of the last few years.

    RICS' recent residential markets survey also offered some good news. It depicts house prices rising at their fastest in almost four years in February. The entire UK saw rising house prices, although prices rose more in London, the Humber, Yorkshire and East Anglia.

    How coronavirus can be compared to Brexit
    Although the results of the EU referendum caused a few short-term fluctuations in the housing market, the long-term trend was for house prices to continue to rise in the following years.

    Last week the government informed the country that it expects the peak of coronavirus cases to be in a few weeks, which is a short time by any measure. Scientists around the world work to provide answers and a vaccine against Covid-19, and many believe that the effects of the disease on the markets will be short-lived.

    Gary Barker wrote in Forbes that he expects the global economy to be resilient to the pandemic. History shows that markets usually bounce back quickly, although initially taking a hit at the time of an outbreak.


    He compared the swine flu epidemic of 2009 ich affected the UK in April, although not on the same scale as coronavirus. It did have a significant economic impact but house prices still increased by 10.1% between 2009 and 2010.

    If the impact of coronavirus follows previous economic trends, estate agents, sellers and buyers should not be too concerned. The economy surged in January because of resurgent consumer confidence, and this is unlikely to suddenly stalls because of a virus with a very low mortality rate. If the situation deteriorates, however, this outlook may have to be revised.

    The short-term impact
    Nonetheless, some areas of the property market could be affected. Some people's employment and income may suffer as a result of the virus, which would obviously make them less likely to invest in property.

    While fears remain about contagion and social isolation policies are in force, people may be unwilling to view houses. For overseas investors interested in UK property, flights to the UK are looking extremely problematic at the moment.

    Technology may be able to play an essential role in keeping the housing market active. Many estate agents may allow employees to work from home to stop the contagion from spreading to vulnerable people. Video conference calls and photos can be used for valuations and viewings - virtual reality headsets can be invaluable for a realistic viewing experience.

    There are plenty of inexpensive technological solutions now available in the property sector that allow people to work remotely. Landlords can use apps to keep in touch with tenants, for example. These days, even important paperwork, such as contracts can also be sent and signed electronically using secure apps.

    Unlike many other economic areas, such as the wedding industry and the holiday market, the property sector is expected to ride the coronavirus crisis intact.