The freeholder of a property owns it outright, including the land it is built on, and it is owned in perpetuity. Typically, Curo will be the freeholder, and you might find you own the lease on a flat within the freehold. However, you could also own the freehold of a house, which has been built on an estate which Curo owns. The transfer will define what is owned, and include a plan of the premises, with all owned areas included within a red outline. Please read on for more information.
A list of responsibilities will be detailed in the transfer that you sign, and there are responsibilities for yourselves, and also Curo as owner of the estate (if applicable). Typical responsibilities for freeholders include the following:
- Paying service charges and rent charges to the estate owner (if stated in the transfer), typically billed annually, however we allow monthly payments.
- Repairs to your home, both internal and external.
If located on a development owned by Curo, we would be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the shared estate areas. This would include actions such as grass cutting and removal of fly-tipping.
Freehold customers can expect to receive their service charge estimate in February of each year, prior to the start of the new financial year in April. As stated within the terms of the transfer document, payment for service charges are due in full, in advance of the financial year.
Our customers are obligated to pay the service charge in full, however where customers are unable to pay the charge in one installment, we can split the charge over 12 months via Direct Debit from April to March.
Service charge reconciliations
Customers can expect to receive their service charge reconciliations in September of each year; these relate to the previous financial year. Once the invoice is issued, and if there is a balance to pay, this will payable within 30 days. If you are unable to pay the invoice within this time frame, you are encouraged to speak to the Commercial Accounts Team to discuss a payment plan.
There may be occasions where your account is in credit; if you require a refund, we ask that you contact us to request this. Alternatively, this can remain on your account and can be offset against future charges.
Removal of restrictive covenants and consent
Transfers commonly include clauses that restrict various items from being done, either work-related or behaviour. This may completely prohibit something from being done, or may allow it, providing prior consent in writing has been obtained.
These clauses can be removed for a premium, which is payable to Curo. This work will require a solicitor to be instructed, and you would be responsible for payment of their fees.
The benefit of this is that the restriction is removed forever, and will not require consent going forward. If a restriction were to not be removed, consent would be required on each occasion the prohibited action is to be carried out.
Please see our schedule of additional management charges for our fee.
The process typically starts once you instruct an estate agent to advertise the property for sale on your behalf.
During the sale process we are able to assist with the enquiries by preparing a sales pack. This includes detail on the service charges and any rent charges. A fee is payable, which is shown in our schedule of additional management fees.
Once a sales has completed, the buyer's solicitor should serve Curo with a Notice of Transfer. This states the parties involved, and the date of completion. On receipt of this, we close down the vendor’s account, and open one for the buyer.
For independent homeowner advice: https://www.lease-advice.org