Not on estate
agents' websites or those of chartered surveyors or those of the Eastbourne
Borough Council or East Sussex County Council or by the Eastbourne office of the
Citizen's Advice Bureau is it revealed that residential freeholders and
leaseholders and their successors of Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour property are
legally required by covenant to pay a unique Annual Estate Rentcharge of £263.55
per residential unit for 2020 in addition to council taxes, property insurance,
management fees and ground rents. (The only partial-exemptions from this Annual
Estate Rentcharge are for the first 364 homes built at Sovereign Harbour. They
were exempt from the Marina Charge but are liable for the SW charge). All Annual
Estate Rentcharge Deeds are registered by the Sovereign Harbour Trust and/or its
Community Interest Company shown below with the Land Registry. Nowhere is it
stated, as it surely should be, by any of these entities that this Annual Estate
Rentcharge is unique to Sovereign Harbour residents, it does not apply in any
other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in
Britain, the UK, Europe or the world. Nor do they state that much of it of it is
for Environment Agency-provided flood defence. Also omitted by these entities is
the fact that only Sovereign Harbour residents have to pay it. Yet this flood
defence scheme covers a much wider flood zone area than just the 4,300 or so
homes in Sovereign Harbour. In fact, more than 15,500 homes in areas of
Pevensey, Pevensey Bay, Wealden District Council and beyond to Bexhill on Sea, 8
miles east also get this same flood defence service. But do they also pay for
it? No, only Sovereign Harbour residents, via the Annual Estate Rentcharge.
Sovereign Harbour homeowners are required in the lease and/or purchase deeds of
each flat or house to pay this to the Wellcome Trust-owned private
Sovereign Harbour Trust via its private subsidiary the Sovereign Harbour (Sea
Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd, to Premier Marinas, owned by The
Wellcome Trust. When a property changes hands the new buyer is charged at least
£120, an unwelcome additional charge of the total transaction cost. But
completely omitted on the websites of the last four named entities is both any
mention that this Annual Estate Rentcharge liability applies to Sovereign
Harbour dwellers only, no one else, and that a charge for it is applied to
newcomers. Nor is it mentioned anywhere on their websites that the only purpose
of the Sovereign Harbour Trust's Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community
Interest Company Ltd is to charge Sovereign Harbour residents the Annual Estate
Rentcharge, not give them any beneficial community interest of any kind. While
resident property owners and long-lease-holders are required to pay for this
Annual Estate Rentcharge, businesses including all developers of Sovereign
Harbour properties and their managing agents and property developers are
exempted. A second unique covenant requires owners/leaseholders of 369 South
Harbour properties in the water feature precinct to pay an additional annual
charge of more than £328. It is the only such water feature in the world that
applies such a charge to properties adjacent to or overlooking it. Notice about
this second covenant is also withheld by most estate agents from prospective
buyers of relevant Sovereign Harbour South properties. By deliberately not
mentioning that this specific Annual Estate Rentcharge is payable by both
freehold and leasehold homeowners, or disguising it as merely a standard harbour
charge similar to other harbour areas, which it is not, estate agents who market
Sovereign Harbour properties also fail to inform relevant banks and mortgage
companies, many of whom for legal reasons may not approve mortgages on
properties that are subject to an estate rentcharge.
Eastbourne: before buying or leasing a property here know vital financial facts
and surveyors do not obey legislation requiring full disclosure about expensive covenants
unique-in-the-world to this area
By Keith A. Forbes.
Disabled, he lives with his wife in the harbour and writes, administers and webmasters
this website as a member of the UK's The
Society of Authors and an activist for the elderly and disabled
Two most recent pieces of
They are the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading
Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing
Regulations 2008 (BPRs). The government took this step to reduce
duplicate legislation regulating
estate agents and other businesses involved in property sales and lettings. The
previous legislation, the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 (PMA), which had made it a criminal offence for
estate agents to make false or misleading statements about properties being
offered for sale, was repealed on 1 October 2013,
Estate agents and other
businesses involved in property sales and lettings should be aware that the 2008
Regulations now offer far more
protection to individuals against misleading sales particulars and advertising
than was the case earlier.
The CPRs prohibit all traders from using unfair
commercial practices in their dealings with individual consumers, and estate agents
in particular are prohibited from engaging in commercial practices
that are unfair to sellers, buyers, potential sellers or potential buyers of
residential property. The BPRs prohibit traders in all sectors, including estate
agents, from using misleading practices in their business-to-business
advertisements. This includes misleading marketing used to advertise property
for sale. While the PMA only covered estate agents, the CPRs and BPRs are much
wider in scope covering letting agents and property managers.
The CPRs prohibit misleading
actions that cause or are likely to cause the average consumer to take a
transactional decision he or she would not have taken otherwise. A
transactional decision is not just whether a consumer decides to purchase a
property but also includes such things as to whether to view a property in the
first place. A misleading action or omission includes omitting to
mention any deeds or covenants or restrictions unique to an area such as
those we alone in the UK, Europe and the world have to bear here in Sovereign
Harbour. We know beyond any doubt this has caused some consumers, after hearing
about the facts from present residents,
to neither want to view nor buy or rent
or lease any Sovereign Harbour property because of the extra costs and
conditions of the Estate Rent charge and other factors that nowhere else
Although the CPRs and BPRs have
now been in force since 2008, some are clearly still unfamiliar to many estate agents
and relevant others selling or leasing or renting properties and consumers. This prompted the Office of Fair Trading to publish
guidance specifically for estate agents on the new Regulations on what they need
to know in applying descriptions on a property. They have been
circulated and can be seen at https://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/services/estate-agents-property-descriptions. There
is also now a specified Code of Practice for all residential Estate Agents and
relevant others. See it at https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/commercial/codes-of-practice/tpo-sales.pdf.
Thus, Estate agents
and relevant others
selling or leasing or renting properties to consumers need
to be particularly careful about how they advertise properties for sale or
lettings, and to make sure their particulars on properties are accurate.
Describing properties as ‘stunning’, ‘desirable’ or in a ‘quiet
area’ now require evidence to back up such statements.
Estate agents and relevant
selling or leasing or renting properties to consumers
particulars that contain misleading omissions are also liable by
the new Regulations. Agents who do not wish to be in contravention of the new
rules and regulations are now expected to make sure they have all their client
vendors or landlords check and sign off on the accuracy of their particulars.
Agents should also ensure their staff are trained on making certain their
particulars and advertising are compliant with the Regulations.
General disclaimers telling
buyers not to rely on details are not effective in preventing offences.
Estate agents and other
businesses involved in property sales and leasing or letting that
breach either the CPRs or BPRs risk prosecution by
their local authority trading standards services responsible for
enforcement by bringing criminal prosecutions. On conviction, agents can face
substantial fines or in more serious cases imprisonment.
Estate Agents and other
businesses involved in Sovereign Harbour property sales and lettings that ignore
the above include:
- Cavendish & Co
- Eastbourne Lettings
- Eastbourne Property Shop
- Freeman Forman
- Fox & Sons
- Ginger & Sanders
- Homes 4 Sale
- Leaper Stanbrook
- Rager & Roberts
- Right Move
- Sanders Property Management
- Sovereign Harbour New Homes
- Taylor Engley
- Town Property
Also see local house and flat
prices at http://www.home.co.uk/guides/house_prices.htm?location=eastbourne.
fully with the 2008 CPRs and BPRs above, Estate Agents,
developers and property managers should be stating the following on all
Sovereign Harbour properties they market:
- If Freehold not Leasehold,
what type of freehold? It must be shown upfront if the property is being sold freehold in fee absolute with
possession or freehold but with Sovereign Harbour estate rental charge/harbour
charge and any other covenants applicable.
- If leasehold or not being sold freehold in fee absolute with
possession and not exempted from the following, the property will be subject to
Sovereign Harbour's annual Estate Rent Charge, otherwise known as the annual
"harbour charge.". Not mentioned by nearly all estate agents
marketing Sovereign Harbour properties. .It is not just a harbour charge as
many other harbours charge but
so much more, also a unique - and manifestly unfair because of its
uniqueness - sea defence charge. There are 3,119 affectedhomes in Sovereign
Harbour. Those who buy or lease or rent them - and their successors - no one else in Eastbourne, are required to pay
annually, not just once, for this Estate Rental Charge, in reality both a
flood defence scheme and harbour charge rolled into one. This
particular sea flood defence scheme extends from Sovereign Harbour
eastwards, and goes beyond it all the way to Cooden Beach, Bexhill about 7
miles away by sea. It must be noted by all present residents and
potential newcomers that this charge is unique to residents in this Sovereign Harbour area, occurs nowhere else in the UK or Europe or world; is nevertheless approved by the East
Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council; applies in 2020 at a
cost cost of £263.55 per residential household irrespective of whether some properties are
worth only £180,000 or so and others as much as £850,000 or so. This
covenanted charge also applies to any future buyer of that property, but all
businesses in the same flood zone area in and beyond Sovereign Harbour are exempted. It is also the only place in the entire UK where, with the full
approval of The Wellcome Trust that owns Premier Marinas, its Sovereign
Harbour Trust collects the 2020 annual charge via a subsidiary and has a 25
year contract via a Pevensey company to undertake this work for the
Environment Agency. Nowhere else in the UK does the Environment
Agency make such a charge to taxpayers, only in the case of Sovereign
Harbour residents. Thus Sovereign Harbour residents alone pay the
Environment Agency twice, while other residents pay only once, via general
taxation, for similar Environment Agency work.
- Also, nowhere else in
the UK, only in Sovereign Harbour, do Premier Marinas, which also owns many
other harbours and marinas in the UK, levy this charge. (Had they known
about it fully beforehand from the material marketing information that was
not included but omitted about the Sovereign Harbour property they acquired
in November 2016, recent purchasers including writers of this
website would not have either gone to see or acquire any Sovereign Harbour
Sovereign Harbour residential properties affected by the Estate Rental
Charge are registered as such by the Sovereign Harbour Trust or its
subsidiary CIC with the Land Valuation Agency. Even with this Estate Rental
Charge occurring solely and uniquely within their jurisdiction, and meaning
that leasehold properties are thus covenanted in ways no other local
authority encounters, the Eastbourne County Council and Eastbourne Borough
Council do not have a similarly unique category of a lower council tax
applicable solely to Estate Rental Charge sufferers. It also needs to be
known that reputable legal
firms throughout the UK are telling potential buyers to beware of buying or
investing in property where such Estate Rent Charges and Rent Charges exist.
An East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne
Borough Council-approved Deed and Grant of Covenant requires as a condition of the sales
contract that purchasers of Sovereign Harbour flats or units (but not
the owners of the buildings or any others in the flood defence area), must pay. Yet a failure of the flood defence scheme anywhere along this length of
coast could possibly affect over 14,000 homes, far more than just in Sovereign
Harbour and cause damage to homeowners possibly amounting to billions of pounds.
No other harbour and marina in the UK or Europe or the world, only this
local community is required to pay for flood defences that go far beyond just this local
community. The cost of this scheme to owners does
not include flood insurance indemnity, Sovereign Harbour residents alone who pay the
cost do not get any insurance included with it. Current Member of Parliament Caroline
Ansell has gone public in stating her belief that the charge is grossly
- Current council tax cost and
banding and which local authorities are
involved (normally both Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County
- If in Sovereign Harbour
South is the water feature charge applicable? If
so, how much at the time of offer? It will be in addition to normal water costs.
- Name of managing
agent of a leasehold property and - for leasehold premises - building owner, with current annual
charges for the unit and what additional charges are likely for the next
financial year. Also, other
purchasers of those leasehold properties should know about. They all have
different roles. Is there a leaseholders
association of that building or group of buildings? All leaseholders should become members, usually for a small annual cost. Why? For three
reasons. Members provide a common defence against matters such possible attempts
by managing agents or building owners to raise fees for new maintenance or
related works. When a leasehold association has 60 percent or more of its
occupants as members in good standing it has a legal right to challenge
arbitrary decisions. If that 60/% is not realized because not enough occupants
are current members, managing agents and/or the building's owners (who usually
appoint the managing agents) are legally entitled to proceed without such
blockage or interference. Only when a leasehold association reaches 60% of its
leasehold-holding owner-occupants does it have the power to demand a change of
managing agents. This has happened especially when either management charges and
additional maintenance expenses have been deemed excessive - unrealistically
high by the majority of members of the leaseholders association, or when the
managing agents and/or owners of buildings have been continuously
uncommunicative, or both. NB: Managing agents are appointed to collect annual or
semi-annual demands for management fees payable by leaseholders and to
maintain all lifts and common external areas of the building including the
exteriors of garages and parking spaces. But they do not get involved in
non-common areas. Leaseholders should also know that if their buildings have
lifts installed their management fees will be higher than buildings without
lifts, but leaseholders without their own garages will pay the same management
fee, not less, than leaseholders with garages, even when those without garages
have paid more for their properties than those with garages. Some managing
agents are more responsive than others in answering questions or handling
complaints. The owner of that building (landlord). When occupiers
seek, on an individual (non-common) basis, information about their flat, or make
any complaint, or have or create any damage or make any structural internal
changes to their flats, such as creating or changing rooms or walls or
partitions or bathrooms or showers they should probably copy managing agents
into but should make sure their submissions are addressed to the owners of
the buildings concerned.
- If it also has gas, the
present gas supplier.
- Water and waste water supplier
and whether or not the property is metered
- Restrictions if any in
leasing or subleasing or letting or short-term renting. Many
purchasers of Sovereign Harbour properties either do not read the fine print of
deeds they sign or ignore them. Many long
leases clearly stipulate that sub-letting or holiday renting is not allowed.
Other factors you should
- About making an offer. As
a first-time buyer, you're in a strong position to negotiate – you have
nothing to sell, and you're not in a chain. Ask about any other offers
made on the property, for how much and for how long the property has been on
the market. If the house has been languishing on the market for a while, the
seller might be prepared to accept a lower price. While the estate agent
isn’t legally obliged to disclose this information, you might get a hint. Any
problems with the property – from structural issues to rowdy neighbours?
Why is the seller selling? Check what nearby homes have sold for with Zoopla’s
valuation tool. Use this and other information you have gleaned
to balance your offer. Be aware that there are many properties for sale in
Sovereign Harbour and all are about the same distance from shops and
services. If you later find out you offered too much you can cancel before
After agreeing in principle to
buy but before legally committing to long-lease or purchase it is recommended you use a local chartered surveyor to give you (a)
a written report on the condition of the property; (b) an unbiased present
valuation of the property; and (c) an indication of any planning that
might be in progress or applied for that might affect your views. Make very sure
your solicitor and chartered surveyor both tell you about the Annual Estate
Rentcharge and its various components built into your lease or purchase.
They are unique not only locally but also throughout the UK, Europe and the
world. This should be explained to you in detail. It will mislead you
materially and possibly actionably if you are not told in detail about this.
It is not just a harbour charge that many other harbours in UK, Europe and
worldwide have. It will cost
you £450 or more to have this survey report made but it will be money well
spent. If the chartered surveyor's valuation of that property is noticeably less
than the estate agent's and seller's price for that property, you have the right
to demand a lower price to match what the surveyor suggests, or cancel your
interest. It could be well worth it to you to cancel as there is now somewhat of
a glut in available flats.
it out before committing to know about roundabouts, transport links,
green spaces, bars, restaurants and, if you have children, good schools are
all top of the agenda when it comes to location. Do your own research. Walk
around the neighbourhood in the daytime and after dark to get a feel for
traffic, atmosphere and security. Do a dry run of your journey to work,
check crime statistics and even pollution levels.
WIFI availability. Ask the seller for details of their current
broadband set-up – the provider, speed and service – and punch in the
postcode at an internet speed checker. Keep your mobile phone on during
viewings, noting any weak spots as you walk around. Medium speed broadband/WIFI is readily available at a
cost from many suppliers but be aware Cable from Virgin Media still is not
in 2020. When asked in 2016 when it might become available Virgin Media was
unable to say for sure. It said it was hoping to but that was four
years ago. Not being able to get the fastest-speed cable WIFI in Sovereign
Harbour is a liability not an asset for both individuals and businesses
dealing with this area.
For a family with more than
one car is there assigned parking for more than one vehicle? Is the parking
underneath (undercroft) in an assigned space? For one vehicle only or two?
Is guest parking available for your visitors? Or does the unit come with a garage?
Be aware that some buildings assign garages to occupants of highest floors.
Insist on adequate parking to satisfy your requirements. If there is assigned parking,
is the parking covered or in the open on or underneath and conveniently near to
the property? Potential buyers or renters or lessees need to look at the parking
beforehand to see if the parking space is big enough for their vehicle and if it
can be accessed without difficulty. If you or a member of your
family are disabled and have a Blue Badge, is there assigned disabled parking
there, wider than normal parking? Are certain types of vehicles
such as vans or trucks not permitted to park on the property?
- Chancel repair liability.
Not applicable to or required for Sovereign Harbour. Prospective
purchasers need to know this in advance and, if they are from non-local
parts of the UK will need to let their solicitors or conveyance agents know.
If not, they could be charged for a service that is not relevant here.
Potential purchasers should beware of using any non-local estate agent or non-local solicitor not aware of this fact.
Chancel repair liability goes back hundreds of years to King Henry VIII. and
the establishment of the Church of England. Some houses (and flats) stand on
land that is still subject to a perpetual liability to contribute towards
the cost of repairs to the chancel of the parish church. The chancel is that
part of a traditionally laid-out church containing the altar and where the
clergy and choir sit – usually at the east end of the church.
- Checking leases carefully.
Insist on this with your solicitor. You will need to know from your
solicitor all about the Annual Estate Rentcharge and its unique components
and how it spoils an application for a mortgage.
- Cladding on apartment buildings.
Before leasing a flat in a high-rise building
that has had cladding installed, determine to
your complete satisfaction that the cladding is of good quality, has passed all
required tests, is fire-resistant, not a potential fire-risk.
- Conveyancing Fees. Now
more transparent. The change was brought in by the Legal Services Board
at the request of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in a bid to
improve the transparency of solicitors’ fees. The SRA argues that
consumers should be given the information to enable them to compare the cost
of different providers and chose the one that best meets their needs. It is
hoped that over the longer term the move will promote competition between
firms and improve people’s access to solicitors. The Competition and
Markets Authority called for transparency to be improved following its 2016
review of the sector.
- Council Taxes. They are
higher than properties with an appreciably higher market value but paying less
in council taxes. Some flats
in the Eastbourne and/or Sovereign Harbour area in buildings with garages or a shared one,
therefore with more space, but their owners pay the the same council taxes, not
more, than flats without garages even when residents of the latter have paid a
higher price for their flat than those with garages. The Councils concerned deem
this irrelevant. In most cases, all residents of one building pay the same
council taxes irrespective of whether some units have either more rooms or a
garage or share one in lieu. In view of this it is recommended that if more than
one unit in a building is for sale, with one offering a garage or a shared one
and the other does not, go for the one with a garage.
- Disability one-band council
tax reduction. If a member of a household
is severely disabled is there a separate bedroom and a bathroom available that
might qualify for a council tax one-band disability reduction? if so, request
this from Eastbourne Borough Council.
- Electricity and gas heating
and central heating.
Some buildings, such as the one building at 16 San Diego Way with its 24
flats, have electric only, the most
expensive. Many flats in Sovereign Harbour are, surprisingly, not centrally heated, are instead
individually room-heated by 14 years old but still working individual
electric radiators. Other buildings offer both gas and electric. Gas, when
available, is appreciably less expensive. Is
a smart meter? If there is, ask if generation one, which ties you
to a specific energy supplier, or the very latest generation two that may
not. Smart meters are not presently usable in certain buildings, for example
at 16 San Diego Way, which is (a) made of concrete which is good in many
ways but bad for smart meters and (b) while the building offers medium-speed
WIFI to individual flats it does not have a basement or allied WIFI facility
smart meters need to operate efficiently or at all.
- Energy coding for the
property. Normally done when a property is bought or leased or sold.
- Flood Zones for the
property concerned, for insurance purposes. North Harbour is in Flood Zone 3,
South Harbour is in Flood Zone 2.
noise and porch or balcony privacy. Some Eastbourne or Sovereign Harbour flats have
wooden, not concrete, floors. Those with wooden floors mean that neighbours
below can expect more noise. Some flats also have their porches or
balconies adjacent to porches or balconies at other flats. This means less
privacy and more noise when both flats have people on their porches or balconies
at the same time. And in the summer, when you need more air but stay inside, you
will want your windows or doors open. But if people on the adjacent balcony or
porch in the neighbor's flat are making a noise, you may have to close your
window or door.
- Harbour or sea views. If they are important, select carefully. Few
properties offer both but many properties with harbour views are within
walking distance of Sovereign Harbour's North and South beaches.
- Hot water boilers. In
their own best interests, newcomers purchasing or leasing Sovereign Harbour homes need to
get sellers to give them dates or years of purchase, or better yet, the
paperwork from when bought, of hot water boilers. Why? Because they need to
be serviced yearly and buyers need to know when the next
service is due. If this information is not given there is a grave risk of a boiler flooding by day or night,
floors and carpets and possibly also affecting neighbors. Flooding has
occured frequently in apartments of certain buildings.
- Hanging out laundry to dry
outside is not allowed under some leases. It might be justified in
part where some properties are deemed exclusive and private and members of
the public are not allowed to pass by. But they cannot be justified in
properties where, such as in Sovereign Harbour, walkways and paths are not
exclusive because they allow any and all members of the public who are not
Sovereign Harbour residents to cycle or stroll or walk by and on the
beachside, bring their dogs. If they are allowed and dogs can leave their
messes for hours or days without being picked up by owners then surely
Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders should not be prevented from
hanging out their laundry to dry for just a few hours.
- Kitchens and washer-dryer
equipment. Many kitchens in Sovereign Harbour flats are smaller than in a
house, which means their appliances are also smaller. Persons used to doing a
large load of laundry and using a separate dryer will be dismayed by the small
size and capacity of many combined washing machines and dryers. Most flats were
kitchen-designed to be used for holidays, not year-round residence. Most
refrigerators are also smaller and a number are under-the-counter accessible as
separate small refrigerator and freezer units, instead of larger combined
stand-alone units. Buyers should ask sellers about the age of their stoves,
refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves. Many newcomers have had to
replace those either more than 10 years old dating back to when the
apartments or homes were first built, or that are operating inefficiently.
These are expenses newcomers should know and budget for.
- Leasing or subleasing or
renting your property. The
great majority of Sovereign Harbour North and South apartments or flats
are not allowed under the terms of their leases to sublease or rent
or short-term rent their properties as holiday homes. But some leaseholders
in certain buildings have either ignored this or have obtained special
permission to do so. Owners of individual buildings do not seem to have a
standard policy in this matter. Some leases will stipulate no short-term
renting of a flat. Others get away with it, to the considerable annoyance of flat
occupiers who have to put up with new renters coming and going on a weekly
basis, for example at flat 22, 16 San Diego Way, Sovereign Harbour North.
- Lift in building. If a member of the household
is mobility-impaired and cannot climb stairs, is there a lift in the
flat's building? In the event of an emergency when the lift does not work does
the staircase have a banister on both sides?
- Medical services.
Harbour Medical Practice at 1 Pacific Avenue is very good. It has about
7,500 patients drawn from Sovereign Harbour and outlying areas.
- Mortgage applications for
Sovereign Harbour properties. Prospective buyers or those who lease
should be aware that mortgage applicants will be required to disclose to
mortgage entities that an Annual Estate Rentcharge is applicable throughout Sovereign Harbour. Estate agents fail to disclose this, instead
refer to it as merely a harbour charge. Be warned that many reputable
mortgage companies, for sound legal reasons, may consider the Annual Estate
Rentcharge as toxic and decline to arrange a mortgage. See the "Beware
of Places with a Rentcharge" below.
- Pets. Some Sovereign
Harbour property leases stipulate no pets. Don't try to evade this, the
neighbours will hate you and there could be severe legal problems. If you
buy a freehold property it won’t be a problem. But for a leasehold home there
may be covenants within the lease that prevent you from keeping all or
certain types of pets.
- Renters will be required
to pay, in addition to their monthly rent, an upfront deposit amounting to up to
two months rent, get estate-agency approved contents insurance and more. If from
abroad, or with insufficient monthly income for a monthly rent but with provable
sufficient savings, there is a way out. Renters can elect to pay in advance for
the first six months of their rental tenancy. Most rental agreements appear to
be for an initial six month period.
- Shops, medical services
and buses or trains. Are they conveniently close? Yes.
- Survey. Having a survey
is not a legal requirement but, as you are about to make a huge financial
commitment, it’s a very good idea. There are three levels of a
- Wardrobes, cupboards and
storage areas. Should be specified, per room. Particularly important for some newcomers. Many Sovereign Harbour
flats have two bedrooms but few have adequate cupboard or wardrobe space for two
people, often barely enough in those two bedrooms for one person. Some have no
built-in cupboard spaces at all. Many flats appear to have been constructed for part-time or
holiday use, not for use full-time year-round.
- Water feature charge.
Applicable to about 29 properties in South Harbour, with views of or near
the water feature. About £320 a year. This is in addition to the Annual
Estate Rentcharge, Council Tax, etc, but not mentioned by many estate agents
marketing Sovereign Harbour properties.
- What the sale includes and
does not. Be careful about this. Normally, boilers, radiators, fitted
carpets and window coverings tend to be included in the sale, whereas white
goods such as refrigerators washing machines and driers are often up for
negotiation. If they are stated in the contract to be included but are
not, make it known and make a fuss.
Martello Tower 64.
Photo cc Keith and Lois Forbes
Beware of Places with an
Estate Rent Charge (like Sovereign Harbour)
So say various law firms and
- All You Need to Know about
Covenants. See https://www.land-registry-documents.co.uk/news-blog/covenantswhat-you-need-to-know-about/
- Beware of Rentcharges.
- Beware the Rentcharge Scam,
perfectly legal. See http://www.cluttoncox.co.uk/site/blog/conveyancingblog/rentcharge_trap_cost_thousands_bristol.html
- Complicated Lease situation
involving a variable rent charge. See https://www.fpra.org.uk/qa/complicated-lease-situation-involving-variable-estate-rent-charge.
Of particular significance, from the Federation of Private Resident
- Can you ever be required to
pay a yearly rent on a freehold house? See http://www.fridaysmove.com/property-law-blog/fridays-blogger/26/08/2011/are-you-required-pay-yearly-rent-freehold-house
- Estate Rentcharges; an
effective but unpopular means of collecting freehold service charges.
What is especially significant is that in those few other places in the UK
where there are Estate Rent charges, they are very low compared to the
amount Sovereign Harbour residents have to pay.
- Estate Rent Charges, beware
when buying freehold homes on private estates. See http://www.solegal.co.uk/estate-rent-charges-beware-buying-freehold-homes-private-estates/.
What is particularly good to note is that this firm covers Eastbourne,
Brighton and Uckfield.
For being the only local legal firm to highlight
this in this way, they are commended.
- Estate Rent Charges, the
new Registration Requirements. See https://www.blakemorgan.co.uk/news-events/news/estate-rent-charges/
- Freehold with fee simple.
The highest form of freehold, meaning no Estate Rent Charge, no leasehold,
no management fees, in short no reasons why the property should not pass on
to beneficiaries indefinitely. 99%, if not 100%, of the relatively few
supposedly freehold properties in Sovereign Harbour are not freehold in fee
- Freehold with Fee Simple
Absolute in Possession. See http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/fee-simple-absolute-in-possession.html.
As above. Hardly any, if any at all, Sovereign Harbour properties are in
- Freehold, Leasehold &
Commonhold. See http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/freehold-and-leasehold/
- Freehold v. Leasehold:
what's the Difference?. See https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/leasehold-or-freehold-financial-implications#what-is-a-freehold
- Government Reduces Ground
Rents on Leasehold New Build Properties in England. See http://www.fosters-solicitors.co.uk/news/business-and-commercial/government-reduces-ground-rents-on-leasehold-newbuild-proper/702
- Government to Act on
Leasehold Rip-offs. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/government-act-leasehold-rip-offs/
- Government to Ban Leasehold
Houses and set Ground Rents as Low as Zero. See https://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/government-ban-leasehold-houses-set-ground-rents-low-zero
- Guidance re Rentcharges.
- Hornet: NO to fleecehold!
In a reference to any place with an Estate Rent Charge.
- How to Avoid the Rentcharge
Scam. See https://social.luptonfawcett.com/blog/how-avoid-rentcharge-scam.
- Land Law: Rent Charges.
- Local Government
Organization and Making a Complaint. See https://www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint/top-tips-for-making-a-complaint
- Leasehold law reform
changes plans. See https://www.lease-advice.org/news-item/leasehold-included-law-commissions-13th-programme-law-reform/?dm_i=OUE,5D7L5,Q8IWGN,KQUMY,1
- New build Houses, the
demise of the Leasehold. See https://www.womblebonddickinson.com/uk/insights/articles-and-briefings/new-build-houses-demise-leasehold-and-what-comes-next
- Positive Covenants. See
- Property Investors Alerted
following Rent Charges Case. See https://www.wrigleys.co.uk/news/property/property-investors-alerted-following-recent-case-on-rentcharges/
- Rent Charges: Draconian
Rights Back With a Vengeance. See http://www.duttongregory.co.uk/site/blog/rentcharges_draconian_rights_back_with_a_vengeance
- Real Estate Tip of the
Week: Revenge of the Rent Charge. See https://www.dacbeachcroft.com/en/gb/articles/2017/january/real-estate-tip-of-the-week-revenge-of-the-rentcharge/
- Rent Charge Indemnity
Insurance. See http://www.lawsureinsurance.co.uk/our-products/title-protection/rent-charge/
- Rent Charge. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rentcharge
- Rent Charges and the
Dangers of Overlooking Them. See http://www.readroper.co.uk/blog/2016/10/21/rentcharges-and-the-danger-of-overlooking-them/#.WmG70Y0iE5t
- Rent Charge Risks. See https://www.penningtons.co.uk/news-publications/latest-news/2017/roberts-v-lawton-rentcharge-risks/
- Rentcharges Act 1977.
- Rentcharges in a Nutshell.
- Rentcharges, What are They,
How do They Work and Can They Be Terminated? See http://www.matrix-legal.com/site/blog/commercial-property/rentcharges
- Stamp Duty Land Tax at the
Start of the Lease. See https://www.bsdr.com/publication/stamp-duty-land-tax-at-the-start-of-the-lease/
- What Are the Rights and
Implications of Estate Rentcharges? See https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/4-517-2268?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true&bhcp=1
- What is a Rent Charge? See
- What is Freehold? See https://thelawdictionary.org/freehold/
- What's The Problem? Rent
Charges. See https://www.burnetts.co.uk/publications/factsheets/whats-the-problem-rentcharges
- What we need to know about
Rent Charges. See http://www.hip-consultant.co.uk/blog/convenants-rentcharges-123/
- Who has to pay the Rent
Charge. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rentcharges#who-has-to-pay-the-rentcharge
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© 2020. Revised: September 20, 2020