Red tape

There is a system in the UK especially in London where you either buy a leasehold (usually to a flat) or a freehold. Essentially if you buy a leasehold you buy the interior of a flat whereas the freehold refers to the exterior of the building. Confusing indeed.

When we bought our current flat we were able to get a share of the freehold. It’s divided between the three flats and we have equal share in decisions and expenses for the maintenance of the building. It’s enabled us to renovate without having to worrying about getting planning permission from the freehold. Simple.
Last week we made an offer on another flat. Just across the road it seemed like the ideal project while we wait for things to settle down post Brexit. Our offer was accepted and we started the process of getting a mortgage.
Judiciously we did some research and discovered the freehold to the building was owned by the City of Westminster and upon further research discovered that all plans have to be submitted for approval, even down to changing interior doors. Contractors have to be insured for a minimum of £2 million and suddenly our idea of converting a one bedroom flat into a two bedroom and making a quick profit seemed to be very complicated indeed.
It looks as though we’ll be pulling out of that one and looking for another freehold property. 
Too much red tape for us.

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