Q. I’m considering buying a leasehold live/work unit but many are advising that we could struggle to get a mortgage on this type of property, is this true and are there any other disadvantages to buying a property like this that I need to be aware of?
A. You will certainly find that some lenders will not be prepared to lend on live/work units point blank but at the same time there are plenty of other leading high street banks and building societies that will, so that in itself should not put you off, although I would advise chatting this through with your financial advisor before proceeding with making an offer just to ensure you have a suitable lender lined up should it be accepted. If in fact you do not intend to use the property for working but purely for residential you will need to apply for residential planning permission from the local council for change of use as residential use only is in breach of planning regulations. That being said and as a further word of caution the freeholder can often charge a significant amount of money to execute the deed of variation in relation to the lease. So definitely worth checking the cost of that out too. Prior to proceeding with any of the above consider the original planning consent for the flat and any conditions imposed, and also establish whether your local planning authority has issued any guidance regarding live/work. Of course if you did manage to secure a deed a variation this will definitely make things easier going forward if you decide to re-mortgage for instance or choose to sell the property at a later date for that matter. Furthermore do make sure you instruct a solicitor that has dealt with and is experienced in the purchasing of a live/work unit so that the conveyancing process proceeds smoothly and is in an expert’s pair of hands. It’s worth reaching out to the Law Society to see if they can recommend someone with expertise in this area.