A redundant communal space is an area of a property that is no longer is use.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. What is a redundant communal space?
- 2. The application process
- 3. Why your application might be turned down
- 4. Associated costs
- 5. Other liabilities
- 6. Useful contacts
1. What is a redundant communal space?
This could be anything from loft space and basements to sheds and storage cupboards.
Where these spaces used to house communal services such as gas meters, hot water, electrical intakes that used to serve the whole building, over time with the modernisation of these services and properties having new and improved combi-boilers installed into each dwelling some of these spaces over time have become redundant.
Instead of leaving them empty, the landlord decided that it would be mutually beneficial for the landlord and leaseholders if these areas can be sold off. This way the landlord does not waste money on maintaining an empty space and the leaseholder has the ability to purchase a space that can improve or expand their living conditions.
Types of spaces available
There are a number of types of spaces available such as:
- loft spaces
- basements or cellars
- disused washrooms or laundry rooms.
Types of spaces not available
These types of spaces are unavailable as selling them would affect and infringe the rights of the other residents in your block or on your estate that your property is located:
- bin store
- communal Land
- communal gardens
- parts of communal hallways
Types of spaces available for rent
- pram sheds
- storage cupboards.
2. The application process
The are seven stages to the application process - you can read about them below.
You need to make an initial application to buy a redundant space and there is a fee of £250 for this.
This fee includes processing and assessing your application, as well as consulting the other residents in your building about your plans for the space you intend to purchase.
Once we have received your application it will be subjected to a consultation process before we can inform you whether it has been successful or not.
Stage 2: The consultation process
When we consult with your neighbours about your intentions to purchase a redundant communal space, we must also consult the area housing office which manages your building to confirm that they have no objections to the area being sold and that it is in fact a redundant communal space.
We will also consult our surveyors to ensure that they’re no structural reasons, or health and safety reasons as to why the area cannot be sold.
There are three possible outcomes to your application, it is:
- successful but with imposed conditions
- unsuccessful If your application is successful with imposed conditions or unsuccessful altogether we will write to with a full explanation as to why.
If your application is successful or successful with conditions, your application will proceed to the second stage.
Stage 3: Survey and valuation
You will be required to pay a fee for a valuation and survey to be carried out on the area. All valuations are carried out at current market value.
Stage 4: Sale of notification
Once we have received the valuation report we will send you a notification of sale including the price and any conditions of the sale. You will have 12 weeks to decide whether you wish to proceed with the sale or not.
Stage 5: Plans
You will be required to pay a fee for new plans for your property to include the area that you are buying. You will also be required to engage a solicitor to act on your behalf at this stage.
Stage 6: Legal
Once we have all the necessary paperwork we will instruct our legal department to complete the sale on our behalf. They will surrender your old lease and redraft a new lease to incorporate the space that you are purchasing and any conditions imposed on the sale.
Stage 7: Completion
At this stage you will now be the owner of the redundant communal space and assume full responsibility for this as with the rest of your property under the terms of your lease.
3. Why your application might be turned down
There are a number of reasons as to why your application maybe turned down.
The most common is that the area is not a redundant communal space and is used for either housing services such as gas/electric meters, tanks or for storage and therefore the landlord needs to retain access rights.
Other reasons include:
- the property is a Grade listed building or under a conservation order and therefore alterations cannot be carried out to this building
- we are not the actually landlord but the leaseholder and you are actually the sub lessee
- the area in question affects more than one property ie a loft space that covers two flats or a basement area that is accessible by more than one resident.
It maybe that we will agree to sell the area but with imposed conditions such as:
- the area cannot be converted and can be used as storage space only
- the area may contain certain electrical wires/stack pipes etc that the landlord will need to retain the right of access to for maintenance purposes
- you the applicant will be responsible for relocating any services at your own expense
- you may only carry out certain types of alterations/conversions due to the structural nature of the building.
These lists are not exhaustive and any reason for unsuccessful application or conditions imposed will be explained fully in writing to the applicant.
4. Associated costs
There are many costs involved in purchasing spaces from the council. Please read carefully as you and any other owners of your property are liable for these costs and it will help determine as to whether you wish to proceed if your application is successful.
Administration and consultation fees
There is a fee for processing and assessing your application. This fee includes consulting the other residents in your building in regards to your plans for the space you intend to purchase. The cost for this will be £250.
Consent to alter
You will need to obtain our consent before you make any alteration to the property. Request permission to alter the property.
Survey and valuation
We will have to have the area surveyed and valued to see whether it saleable or not. The cost for this is £600 including VAT.
Value of the area to be purchased.
This is dependent on the valuation report. The valuation of the sale will be based on the development potential of the space. You will be notified of this cost in a notice of sale.
New plans will need to be issued to show the new space added to your existing demise. The cost for this is £240 including VAT.
Surrender and re-grant of lease and associated legal costs for the sale
Due to the significant changes that will need to be made to your lease, the old lease will need to be surrendered and a new lease granted incorporating the newly purchased area. The council will also charge any reasonable legal costs associated with the sale of the space.
The cost for this:
- surrender of lease - £750
- re-grant of a new lease - £1,600
These might be increased if your purchase becomes more complex.
We will need to contact the insurance department to inform them of the new space that you will be purchasing. This purchase will affect your insurance premiums and indemnity insurance premiums, as you will be adding extra space to your original demise.
All costs are accurate at time of going to publication and are subject to change. All costs will be confirmed in writing when requested.
Legal costs are approximate and may vary depending on the nature of the sale.
I must also inform you that also depending on the nature of the sale you may incur additional costs, which you will be liable for.
If you any queries with regards to these costs, please contact Home Ownership Services on 020 7926 1116 or email HMHomeownership@lambeth.gov.uk.
5. Other liabilities
Having purchased the space and altered/converted it, your property will have to be re-valued for insurance purposes to ensure that you contribute the correct proportion to the council’s cost of insuring the whole building.
Your property's rateable value (RV) may have to be recalculated as all property RV’s are based on the number of habitable rooms in a property. Therefore if you convert the new area into an extra bedroom, this will raise the RV of your property.
If it is agreed by the landlord that you can carry alterations/conversion works, a clause will be added to your leases stating that you will be liable for the first 15 years from completion of these works for the whole of our costs in remedying defects to the structure of the building which have arisen as a result of the works and alterations you have carried out.
It will also be written into your lease that where we have to spend extra for example on specialist scaffolding or contractors to accommodate your alterations or conversion, this extra cost will be borne by you.
Relocation of communal services
Where services such a TV aerials, meters and pipes have been relocated to facilitate your alteration, the cost of doing this and compensating other residents for the temporary loss of services will be wholly borne by you.
As per the terms of your lease you will remain responsible for the interior of your newly acquired space. As the freeholder the council will remain responsible for the repair and maintenance of the structure and communal areas of the building and will contribute to this as per the terms of your lease.
6. Useful contacts
If you wish to discuss anything to do with your application further please contact the Home Ownership Services on 0207 926 1116 or email HMHomeownership@lambeth.gov.uk.
In regards to any works you wish to carry out it would be advisable for you to contact the following departments.
10 Wandsworth Road
T:020 7926 9000
Town Planning Advice Centre, Phoenix House
10 Wandsworth Road
020 7926 1180
Olive Morris House
18 Brixton Hill
020 7926 9330