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Selling/Managing UK Property

Selling/Managing UK Property

Old Jun 25th 2016, 5:57 pm
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Default Selling/Managing UK Property

We have an outstanding dispute with the freeholder for our London property which we have been working two years to resolve. She happens to also be the owner for the ground floor flat and we are the owners of the first floor. It is a long story, but we have solicitors engaged, but she is taking every opportunity to not actually resolve the dispute, knowing that if she resolves it, we are likely to put our house on the market and move and whomever replaces us, is going to be far more difficult to deal with.

We are then likely in the situation where we will need to migrate to the US before we resolve the dispute and will need to engage someone to "manage the property" which is likely just checking up on the property a couple times of the month. Googling for "property management" just comes up with a load of letting agents. Does anyone have any experience with any London based companies that do this, or do most property management agencies also deal with this sort of "light touch" management?
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Old Jun 25th 2016, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

Property managers make their fees as a percentage of the rental income. I doubt many would be interested in "popping by" a couple of times a month.

Without knowing the nature of your dispute, it is hard to be sure, but I'd be inclined to strike a deal so you can sell, or put the flat on the market as a bargaining chip. Certainly once you get solicitors involved you have lost control of the situation and are facing spiraling legal costs.
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Old Jun 25th 2016, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

The legal costs to date are arguably to be part of the cost basis for both US and UK tax purposes, so you will want to keep good records of these.
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Old Jun 25th 2016, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Without knowing the nature of your dispute, it is hard to be sure, but I'd be inclined to strike a deal so you can sell, or put the flat on the market as a bargaining chip. Certainly once you get solicitors involved you have lost control of the situation and are facing spiraling legal costs.
You are telling me... The short story. She complained about noise. We agreed to split the costs of soundproofing between the ground floor and the first floor flat. She was still not happy and hit us with a breach of convents. We disputed that and pointed out to her the terms of the lease that say when a dispute arises between the parties, it is the responsibility of the freeholder to appoint a Surveyor to make a determination in the matter. She did nothing. We consulted a solicitor. They wrote to her, she engaged solicitors. They wrote to us saying that yes, they agreed with the terms of the lease but suggested that we could jointly appoint the surveyor. There was some miscommunication, where we thought she was suggesting we use a Structural Engineer that we had gotten to give us advice, but she refused that offer. We told her to appoint the Surveyor (that was 5 months ago). Finally after much haranguing she appointed the Surveyor. He showed up 4 weeks ago, was reputable, and looked at the property and left. We and our solicitor have been chasing every week to get a determination so we can settle the dispute. Given that no matter what we have done before, she has never been satisfied, so we wanted a formal determination made of which she couldn't wiggle out of. We understand that the Surveyor recommended a sound consultant which they were getting quotes two weeks ago. We continue to chase. We are now 8 weeks away from having to leave the UK. There is no settling with her. She wants to hold us hostage and is refusing to give us an idea of what would settle matters in her mind. If it was "do several grand worth of repairs" we would do it, but it needs to settle the matter.

You can see, it is rather complicated and solicitors have been engaged for nearly two years. If anyone has a good idea of how to gain control of it again, I have open ears, but we are seriously at the end of our rope. We can afford to sit on the property and wait for her to eventually resolve the matter, but we can't do it from the UK.

We did offer to allow her to buy the flat, but obviously there is no way for her to get a mortgage on the property, because banks won't allow you to buy both maisonettes, afraid you will knock them through.

Phew...
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Old Jun 27th 2016, 5:07 am
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

In England Property managers and Lettings agents are one of the same. I pay around 12% of rent to mine. If you do need one try and find one before you leave. Interview two or three and then take your pick with maybe one or two in reserve if the first doesnt work out
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Old Jun 27th 2016, 7:18 am
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

Keep in mind the US tax implications of delaying a sale for too long ( CGT exemption of only $250,000 single/$500,000 joint if you lived there 2 of last 5 years....)- you'll find information on this in this forum.

Last edited by Asg123; Jun 27th 2016 at 7:30 am.
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Old Jun 27th 2016, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

Originally Posted by Asg123 View Post
Keep in mind the US tax implications of delaying a sale for too long ( CGT exemption of only $250,000 single/$500,000 joint if you lived there 2 of last 5 years....)- you'll find information on this in this forum.
There are other calculations you have to make if you have rented it out in the last 5 years.
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Old Jun 27th 2016, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

Originally Posted by Asg123 View Post
Keep in mind the US tax implications of delaying a sale for too long ( CGT exemption of only $250,000 single/$500,000 joint if you lived there 2 of last 5 years....)- you'll find information on this in this forum.
This is calculated in US dollars so with the pound declining you might not have so much CGT , if any to pay. Depending when you purchased the property.
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Old Jun 27th 2016, 5:58 pm
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Default Re: Selling/Managing UK Property

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
This is calculated in US dollars so with the pound declining you might not have so much CGT , if any to pay. Depending when you purchased the property.
But you may get an ugly shock from the "gain" on the mortage loan if you need a lot fewer dollars to pay off the loan than you received when you took out the mortgage. .... The US sees a large GBP loan balance and when sterling falls there is a gain from a US perspective on GBP loan balances.
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