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Saturday, 29 October 2016

How long should it take to purchase a property?

Certainly not as long as it is taking me to purchase the flat I live in from my landlord.

We started this process at the end of May, and I have already had to serve notice on the landlord for missing a legal timed deadline for one portion of the transaction process. My landlord is a social landlord, and I'm buying under the Right to Buy scheme - mainly because of the threat by the Conservative government to make workers pay full market rent on social housing properties. Commercial rents here are more than twice what I currently pay, and on the property I live in would take approximately half my income each month if that were to happen. A mortgage, with the RTB discount, is roughly the same as my current rent. The choice is clear.

What is not clear is why it took my landlord almost 14 weeks to provide me with a valuation of the property, and why it has taken since the end of May for them to finally confirm this week that there is no asbestos in the loft space (I have an upstairs flat). It has so far taken them 3 weeks to put together the transfer documents to send to my solicitor (and even she has started calling this a 'saga'!), and they still have not sent them.

The landlord also refuses to tell me whether a wall I want to remove is a load-bearing wall in advance of the completion of sale. It wont make any difference to me buying the flat, but my solicitor advised me to try and get the confirmation in advance of completion. Now that they have confirmed there is no asbestos, I can get my own builder to check, but it makes me very wary of how long they will take when I'm a leasholder to give permission for the building work to be done. My builder says I should allow 3 weeks for the building and then to fit a new kitchen, and I've saved a couple of weeks holiday from work this year to cover that period, but our holiday year runs from April to March and at this rate the work wont get done before next summer. I could do with a few days away right now, but daren't use any more holiday just in case the sale is suddenly completed and we can get going with the building work.

Why do we make these things so difficult in this country? I work in customer service and if I had delayed something in the way the landlord has, I'd have lost my job by now.

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