Can management agents charge us for the information we need to sell a flat?

I'm dealing with my late brother's estate, but the agents managing his flat have asked for a lot of money to provide information to the buyer - is this normal?

Question: Following my brother’s death six months ago, my husband and I are now sorting out his estate. We have a grant of probate and are both executors, and we are selling his penthouse flat. The solicitor has told us that we have to pay £420, plus VAT, for the managing agents of the block to provide information that the buyer needs. This seems an awful lot of money for us to have to come up with. We have already paid a huge service charge to the same managing agents. What information does the buyer need — and is it normal to pay such a big fee?

Answer: You should complete a fittings and contents form, a property information form and a leasehold information form, which should accompany the contract papers sent by your solicitors to the buyers’ solicitors.

A leasehold property enquiries form, or LPE1,  should also be completed by the landlord or their managing agents. This form provides more detailed information about the management of the block.

A buyer of a flat needs to know how the building is managed, what the service charges are likely to be and if there is any future expenditure anticipated for maintenance of the building and suchlike.

Landlords or managing agents often charge a fee for completing the LPE1 as it can be time-consuming to gather the information and complete the questionnaire. Your brother’s managing agents clearly do charge for this service and they are entitled to do so.

What's your problem?
If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk 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 is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (fiona.mcnulty@footanstey.com)
 
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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