Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust
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Buying & Selling on The Suburb

This information is intended as a guide, and is subject to regular updates. Please contact the Trust for further information, or for more detailed explanation of anything not covered below.

Buying a Freehold Property

The Annual Management Charge

Under the Scheme of Management for Hampstead Garden Suburb every Freehold property on the Suburb pays a mandatory annual Management Charge to the Trust.

The Management Charge year runs from 6 April – 5 April and is billed in August.

It is important to check whether the Management Charge has been paid up to date. Even if the Charge for the current year has not yet been billed (between April and August) it should be apportioned between the vendor and the purchaser. The Trust will supply an estimate of the Charge.

The conveyancing solicitor should email any enquiries about the Management Charge to mail@hgstrust.org, and the solicitor should calculate the apportionment.

If the previous owner has not paid the Management Charge the new property owner will become liable for any arrears.

The Trust makes a small charge for copies of the Annual Report & Accounts if these are required.

Estate Charges for Private Roads & Communal Open Spaces

Where freehold properties enjoy rights over private roads and other communal open spaces, the Scheme of Management and freehold transfer deeds oblige freehold owners to contribute towards the Trust’s costs of maintenance.  This can include regular gardening and tree work or major works such as replacement of roads or walls.  These estate charges are generally added to the accounts of freehold properties in August of an ongoing financial year and in April at the end of a financial year.

The charges are linked to the property rather than the owner, so if you buy a property with charges on the account you will be liable to the Trust for them.

We consult with owners before major works, so you may wish to obtain details from the existing owner of upcoming works.

Existing Alterations to the Property

Under the Scheme of Management any external alterations to Freehold properties require Trust consent.

If the vendors or previous owners have made external alterations to the property, the Trust should have a record of this.

The Trust has no control over internal alterations to a Freehold property, provided it remains a single family house or flat, except the conversion of the garage to habitable space.

If an application is made, say, to install French doors or carry out a loft conversion the Trust issues a Provisional Consent which allows the owner to start work. When the work is finished the Trust’s Architectural Advisers make an inspection and if the work is acceptable a Final Consent is issued. The application will then be complete.

The conveyancing solicitor should check whether there are any outstanding applications on the file. The Trust makes a small charge for providing copies of Consents.

Alterations A Purchaser May Wish to Make

If you are considering the purchase of a property in the Suburb but would like to make alterations such as converting the loft or adding a rear extension, it is important to ask the Trust what alterations may be possible.

In some cases the file may contain sufficient information and photographs for your query to be answered on the telephone.

If there is no information on the file it may be possible to arrange a site visit to discuss your plans.

Site visits are carried out by the Trust’s Architectural Advisers and are designed to help you buy the right property for your needs. The Architectural Adviser will be able to tell you if the alterations you propose meet Trust Guidance or if they are not suitable for the property.

An application to the Trust must be made for any external alterations and also if you propose to convert the garage to habitable space.

Advice from the Architectural Advisers is advice only. Decisions are made by the Trustees.

It is not possible to answer any queries without knowing the address of the property.

Alterations to Listed Buildings

Any alterations to a Listed Building, internal or external, require Listed Building Consent from Barnet Council. If the vendor does not have copies of such Consents, it may be possible to obtain copies from Barnet.

The Trust does not hold copies of these Consents.

Unauthorised Works & Infringements

An infringement may have been logged against the property if works have been carried out without Trust Consent. This is a breach of the Scheme of Management and as such creates a dispute with the Trust.

Unauthorised works may include alterations such as the installation of upvc windows or the removal of a planting strip between the driveway and the front path.

The Trust will require that such works are corrected.

If it is proposed to carry out works to the property on completion of the purchase, the Trust will require that the infringement is corrected as part of this work.

When the unauthorised works have been corrected the infringement can be lifted.

If the infringement has not been rectified the vendor must inform the conveyancing solicitor so that the purchaser is made aware of the necessity to correct the unauthorised works.

Other unauthorised works such as (for example) the installation of an inappropriate replacement front door may also be raised during conveyancing enquiries. The Trust can advise purchasers on the correct design of door for the property. An infringement may not have been logged in respect of such works but it is important that they be corrected.

Garages & Garage Conversions

On the Transfer of many Freehold properties in the Suburb there is a restrictive covenant on the use of the garage. Typically the clause will read “Not to use or permit to be used the Property or any part thereof otherwise than as a private dwellinghouse in the occupation of one family only or as private garden land and not to use any garage except as a garage for a private motor car.”

If the property has a converted garage the conveyancing solicitor should check that there is Trust consent and/or a Deed of Variation in place.

If the garage has been converted without Trust Consent, it will be necessary to regularise the situation either by returning the garage to use as a garage, or by agreeing a Deed of Variation with the Trust. The Trust would require a premium to be paid, together with reasonable legal fees to cover the cost of preparing the Deed.

The premium is calculated in accordance with a formula depending on the size of the garage.

If the garage is still a garage and the purchaser wishes to convert it to habitable space they should check:

  • Whether there is a restrictive covenant
  • Whether the conversion of the garage would be acceptable to the Trust.

The Trust can offer advice on both these matters.

Informing the Trust

The Trust must be informed when the purchase has completed.

It is important to notify the Trust by letter or an email to mail@hgstrust.org of the name and correspondence address of the new owners.

There is no charge for registering a change of ownership in the case of a freehold property.

Buying a Leasehold Property

The Annual Ground Rent

The annual Ground Rent is billed halfway through the rent period. Although Ground Rents are usually very low it is important to check that the Rent has been paid up to date.

Service Charges for Private Roads & Open Spaces

Where leasehold properties enjoy rights over private roads and other communal open spaces, the lease usually obliges the lessee to contribute towards the Trust’s costs of maintenance.  This can include regular gardening and tree work or major works such as replacement of roads or walls.  These service charges are generally added to the accounts of leasehold properties in August of an ongoing financial year and in April at the end of a financial year.

The charges are linked to the property rather than the owner, so if you buy a property with charges on the account you will be liable to the Trust for them.

We consult with owners before major works, so you may wish to obtain details from the existing owner of upcoming works. Queries on outstanding service charges can be directed to finance@hgstrust.org. Information on upcoming works should be addressed to nick@hgstrust.org.

Alterations to Listed Buildings

Any alterations to a Listed Building, internal or external, require Listed Building Consent from Barnet Council. If the vendor does not have copies of such Consents, it may be possible to obtain copies from Barnet.

The Trust does not hold copies of these Consents.

Alterations A Purchaser May Wish to Make

If you are considering the purchase of a property in the Suburb but would like to make alterations such as converting the loft or adding a rear extension, it is important to ask the Trust what alterations may be possible.

In some cases the file may contain sufficient information and photographs for your query to be answered on the telephone.

If there is no information on the file it may be helpful to arrange a site visit to discuss your plans.

Site visits are carried out by the Trust’s Architectural Advisers and are designed to help you buy the right property for your needs. The Architectural Adviser will be able to tell you if the alterations you propose meet Trust Guidance or if they are not suitable for the property.

An application to the Trust must be made for any external alterations.

Advice from the Architectural Advisers is advice only. Decisions are made by the Trustees.

It is not possible to answer any queries without knowing the address of the property.

Restrictive Covenants on the Lease

Many leases contain a clause in absolute terms against making any alterations to the property either external or internal.

If you propose to carry out works once the purchase has completed, the Trust may require a deed to vary the terms of the lease.  In many cases a premium will be payable together with the Trust’s legal fees to cover the cost of preparing the deed.

The process can be started by completing an application for Trust consent.

Insurance

The Trust expects leasehold properties to be insured in the joint names of the lessee and the Trust with a reputable company but does not hold details of the policies.

Notices of Transfer & Charge

When the sale has completed the solicitor for the purchaser must serve the Trust with a Notice of Transfer. There is a fee of £30 to register the Transfer.

There is also a fee of £30 to register a Mortgage.

If there is an infringement logged against the property, the Trust may require that this is corrected before the Notice of Transfer is registered.

Selling a Freehold Property

The Annual Management Charge

The Management Charge year runs from 6 April – 5 April and is billed in August. The Charge should be paid in full for the current year and apportioned between the vendor and the purchaser.

If the property is sold between April and August the Management Charge should still be apportioned by the conveyancing solicitor. The Trust can advise you what the level of the Management Charge is expected to be.

If you are not sure whether the Management Charge has been paid or not please email finance@hgstrust.org to enquire.

Estate Charges for Private Roads & Open Spaces

Alterations to the Property

An application must be made for Trust Consent before any work is carried out to the exterior of a Freehold property.

If the application is acceptable the Trust issues Provisional Consent before work can start and Final Consent once the work has been completed. If Final Consent has not been issued the application is not complete.

If a property is to be sold and Final Consent has not been issued an appointment should be made for one of the Trust’s Architectural Advisers to make an inspection.

When the work has not been carried out according to the consented drawings a Final Consent cannot be issued.

The Trust makes a charge of £85 for Final Inspections made more than 6 years after the date of the Provisional Consent.

Unauthorised Works & Infringements

An infringement may have been logged against the property if works have been carried out without Trust Consent. This is a breach of the Scheme of Management and as such creates a dispute with the Trust.

Unauthorised works may include alterations such as the installation of upvc windows or the removal of a planting strip between the driveway and the front path. The Trust will require that such works are corrected.

If an infringement has been logged this must be communicated to the estate agent, the conveyancing solicitor and prospective purchaser. The purchaser must be made aware of the necessity to correct the unauthorised works.

If the unauthorised works have been corrected but the Trust has not been informed, an appointment should be made for one of the Architectural Advisers to make an inspection. If the corrective works are acceptable to the Trust the infringement can be lifted.

Garages & Garage Conversions

On the Transfer of many Freehold properties in the Suburb there is a restrictive covenant on the use of the garage. Typically the clause will read “Not to use or permit to be used the Property or any part thereof otherwise than as a private dwellinghouse in the occupation of one family only or as private garden land and not to use any garage except as a garage for a private motor car.”

If the garage has been converted without Trust Consent, a Deed of Variation will be necessary to regularise the situation. The Trust will require a premium to be paid, together with reasonable legal fees to cover the cost of preparing the Deed.

Informing the Trust

The Trust must be informed when the purchase has completed.

It is important to notify the Trust by letter or an email to mail@hgstrust.org of the name and correspondence address of the new owners.

There is no charge for registering a change of ownership in the case of a freehold property.

Selling a Leasehold Property

The Annual Ground Rent

The annual Ground Rent is billed halfway through the rent period. Although Ground Rents are usually very low it is important to check that the Rent has been paid up to date.

 


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