Legal Q&A: Why do I need to provide a Leasehold Information Pack to sell my flat?

I'm selling my flat but my solicitor says I have to pay £295 plus VAT to provide a Leasehold Information Pack for the buyer. What is it and why do I need to provide one? 

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Question: I bought a flat five years ago off-plan from the builder. It has gone up in value quite a lot and I am now selling. 

I have lots of credit card debts so I need every bit of the money but my solicitor says that I have to pay the managing agents a fee of £295 plus VAT to provide a Leasehold Information Pack for the buyer. I do not remember seeing any pack when I bought the flat, so why does there have to be one now?  And anyway, what is a Leasehold Information Pack? 

Answer: It is the responsibility of the seller to provide the buyer's solicitors with information regarding the management of the building in which a leasehold flat is located.

The management company or landlord will provide replies to leasehold property enquiries raised by the buyer's solicitors, generally in the form of a pack referred to as the Leasehold Information Pack. This pack provides the buyer with details to help him or her understand how the building is managed and the service charge payable.

It contains information relating to such matters as service charge payable; breaches of covenant or non-payment of service charge; anticipated major works; reserve or sinking fund, and details of whether the leaseholders have applied to buy the freehold. It will also include copy documents such as the last three years' accounts.

When you bought the property it was new — so although an anticipated service charge budget may have existed, most of the other information would not have been available at that time. Therefore, there would have been nothing to put in a Leasehold Information Pack as it really provides details of the history of the management of the building.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE.

We regret that questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a legal director in the private wealth group of Foot Anstey.

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