Many leaseholders find themselves in a position whereby their apartment block requires renovation or modernisation but there are obstacles that prevent the work being undertaken.
The inability to start work can be due to a lack of funds with the ongoing maintenance charge not enough to cover the costs.
A further common delay is through a sense that the work is not yet urgent. The roof, for example, might be nearing the end of its shelf life and it might be apparent that repairs will be required soon, perhaps even installing a whole new roof. It is common for non-essential work to be deprioritised and delayed even if this will ultimately be a costly decision as extra problems are created by not acting promptly.
The inability to raise funds or for leaseholders to come to a collective agreement will ultimately lead to quick fixes and patch-up work; repairs that last a couple of years and then need further attention. Such work contrasts markedly with quality work guaranteed to last for decades.
Across cities, these issues are common but there can be a solution that leads to repairs and renovations being undertaken at zero cost to existing leaseholders.
Airspace Development – Tackling Inner City Housing Shortages
This solution is airspace development, a growing inner-city trend that helps tackle the lack of available housing, but also benefits existing leaseholders in a number of ways.
One key benefit is that airspace development can lead to outstanding renovations being addressed. Coming with over a 20 year guarantee and at no cost to leaseholders, a new roof will always be installed. Many properties are on the brink of needing roof repairs or replacements that would cost tens of thousands of pounds; undergoing airspace development immediately removes this financial burden.
Other maintenance work undertaken will vary by property, but the airspace developer will be motivated to tackle any problems that will affect the desirability of the new properties. Typical items tackled include:
- The renovation of communal areas such as lobbies and entrances
- Renovation of communal outdoor spaces
- Improvements to the insulation and exterior of the property
- An upgrade to fire safety equipment
- Improved security systems (if required).
The improvements and renovations typically lead to a sizeable increase in value for all existing properties. At Upspace, we see a 5 to 6% increase on average but the figure can reach 10%, as the overall building becomes more desirable, so too along with the individual properties within.
A further financial benefit for in situ leaseholders is that their service charge percentage will typically decrease post completion of airspace development leading to reduction in yearly costs. Issues that previously required consideration have been remedied as part of the build and the creation of additional properties means there are now extra properties to divide the cost of any future repairs between leading to a further reduction in costs.
Assessing The Suitability For Airspace Development
While buildings that undergo air space development benefit from the work undertaken, that is not to say airspace development is suitable for all buildings.
Specialist airspace developers know what to look for in a project and have an ability to assess whether the completed work will lead to the benefits being sought by all.
The quality of work is also of prime importance. Most developers seek to make their profit by selling the newly developed properties and once the final apartment has sold their interest in the building is essentially over.
At Upspace, we have a different strategy, we work in partnership with the freeholder and derive our profit by renting out the new properties meaning we take more of a long-term perspective. Our ongoing interest in the property ensures we retain a relationship with leaseholders as a partner in the property.
We also seek to counter another common concern by undertaking much of the build off site to reduce disruption. The exact figure will vary by build, but we are able to carry out up to 80% of the work off-site – typically prefabricated dormers, timber I-beams, chimneys, plumbing systems and more (for further details please see our FAQs).
When airspace development is suitable for a property it has a range of benefits, these include carrying out outstanding repairs and renovations, leaving existing leaseholders with a building that is modernised and of a higher overall quality.
At Upspace, we specialise in airspace developments in London. Please get in touch for further information or to begin the process of assessing the suitability of your building.