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Live/Work Rules

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Tuesday 29 September 2009 5.12pm
Hiya, I know this is an old post but I'm in a similar position and am hoping someone with the know might spot this post!

I am in the process of buying a property (hopefully) in the city walk development. And based on the Estate Agent's description, I am buying a live/work unit that was originally a work unit of approximately 40 sq m., the remainder comprising bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and lounge.

Following water damage to the work area, the leaseholder/freeholder (?) (both subsidiaries of one company) converted the work area into two bedrooms, one with an en suite bathroom.

I've asked for a variation of the lease to be made, so that if I use the property purely as live only, they wouldn't take action against me for breaking the contract. It could be worded very vaguely to give me a bit of security...

The freeholder is refusing, saying there's a Supreme Head Leaseholder (or something like that) in charge of things like that, and they won't budge!

I am not so worried about the council, because i've done a fair bit of research and it doesn't seem like they have the resources nor inclination to investigate, and it would be v difficult to estabilish whether the property were being used only as live work.

But I am worried that the freeholder won't grant me permission to get a certificate of lawful use in 4 years...do you think it would be within their interest to refuse this request?

Plus, if I did get granted a change in planning, would they expect compensation and what grounds do I have to refuse this?

The freeholders are a big developing company and have a good reputation.

SO stressful, just hoping it will be worth it in the end.
Sunday 27 December 2009 3.15pm
It is also worth bearing in mind that some lenders do not like to lend on live works units. Lenders have been tightening their requirements in recent months. There is a distinct possibility as the years pass that this type of property will become more and more difficult to sell/purchase.
vim
Tuesday 30 March 2010 5.25pm
Hi All,

I'm in a similar position to Ms Allie above, except the developer is being very vague about everything to do with the flat I'm interested in. They can't confirm the ratio of live/work, they can't provide details in the lease regarding the details but they are being very reassuring that the flat is good value for money, even though the risk of attracting bsiness rates could mean up to 10k per year (or a percentage of). They have reassured me that the flat has been residential for 4 years and no rates have been paid...

Has anyone atually been through and completed a sale on a live/work unit? Any other risks other than having to pay an extra set of rates?

Any advise/information would be much appreciated!
Vim
rdk
Friday 27 August 2010 4.44pm
Hello Everyone,

Thanks for all the relevant information here.

I need advice and guidance for a slightly different situation.

I have a vacant office premises with B1 permission in a mixed use development and I wish to use it as Live/Work unit for my own use

Can I do this and if yes, do I need planning permission from the Council?

Thanks in advance for your responses

RDK
Tuesday 8 November 2011 7.32pm
Just to reassure potential purchasers of live/work units. We purchased a unit 5 years ago, had no problem getting a mortgage - although you do have to less lenders who will lend on L/W. We changed the rates from business to residential. We did not get a lease variation although this could be an option for a price. Our freeholders are not particularly interested in the details just the ground rent. Planners are also not particularly interested in the L/W aspect and in any event could not enforce has we have been here over 4 years. We have a large amazing dwelling for less money than a more conventional property. 90% of our neighbours use there properties as wholly residential and are equally happy!
Friday 30 December 2011 9.46am
I have also just purchased a live work unit purely for living in. We are paying council tax at the residential rate (and it was already banded as such), and the status of the property was one issue in buying our home that neither the solicitor nor the building society were concerned about. We have a great space for a good price for the area.
Friday 30 March 2012 8.44am
Live/Work Unit is a place where you must live there and work there. They have fixed rates due to paying council tax for the 'live' and rates for the 'work'. It's good that you opted not to take the place for aside from the hassles of the procedures, it may take more than a small payday loan to sustain it while having to pay for it as a live/work unit and not just a live unit.
jpm
Sunday 1 April 2012 11.59am
It's worth keeping a close eye on the planning application 11/AP/4193 for 217 Long Lane, as this is a formal application to convert live/work units into just residential units.

In my view, Live/Work hasn't worked well in many parts of SE1 (eg Long Lane) because the idea of introducing working units hasn't been delivered in practice.

You can also look at all the 'commercial' spaces on the ground floor of Long Lane between Weston Street and Bermondsey Street and you can see that - even if they are used as office - they all screened off to the street and make the place feel dead.
Sunday 10 June 2012 5.05pm
I purchased a live/work unit two years ago and as the apartment had never been used as live/work but only residential, I successfully put in a planning application for a Certificate of Lawfulness for existing use.

In order to change the conditions of my lease I contacted the feeholder “Avonbraid Limited”. However, they told me that by changing the use of the property, I’m in breach of my lease conditions. Now they request 50% of the value increase of the property as well as paying all transaction fees as well as the evaluation survey.

I do understand that they do want to charge a fee, but 50% of the value increase as well as taking over all transaction and solicitor fees seems over the top.
In the meanwhile I do not feel the need to change the lease anymore but the freeholder keeps blackmailing me that I need to change the lease to their conditions.

Does anyone know if the freeholder can force me changing the lease to their conditions?
Wednesday 13 June 2012 4.31pm
pluto2468 wrote:
I purchased a live/work unit two years ago and as the apartment had never been used as live/work but only residential, I successfully put in a planning application for a Certificate of Lawfulness for existing use.
In order to change the conditions of my lease I contacted the feeholder “Avonbraid Limited”. However, they told me that by changing the use of the property, I’m in breach of my lease conditions. Now they request 50% of the value increase of the property as well as paying all transaction fees as well as the evaluation survey.

I do understand that they do want to charge a fee, but 50% of the value increase as well as taking over all transaction and solicitor fees seems over the top.
In the meanwhile I do not feel the need to change the lease anymore but the freeholder keeps blackmailing me that I need to change the lease to their conditions.

Does anyone know if the freeholder can force me changing the lease to their conditions?

Good luck with that, your freeholder is part of the Peverel group formerly controlled by the Tchenguiz brothers. Although it might be in receivership or administration now (certain parts of Peveral are) they are well renowned for seeking to squeeze as much value as possible out of their leaseholders. Their perspective will be that you (or the original lessee) acquired the property at an effective discount to true value because of the live/work requirement and ths they should benefit in part from any value arising from a release of that condition. Whether you are able to release the condition will in part be down to the lease ad is not merely a planning matter.

Of course, Southwark council should really be capturing some of the increase in value to recompense for agreeing to lose the potential for business rates!!
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