Will A Proposed Airspace Development Increase Our Annual Service Charge?

Will A Proposed Airspace Development Increase Our Annual Service Charge?

Within major cities, airspace development is helping to tackle the housing shortage, developing existing properties to increase the overall level of available accommodation.

The benefits of this form of development are not in doubt, at national level Government White Papers have outlined a requirement for air space development to be explored as a means to tackling a chronic lack of available accommodation.

However, for all the benefits of these developments, those in properties with the potential to be expanded in this way can still have justifiable initial concerns.

One common concern we have to address as leading airspace developers is a fear that the annual service charge could increase on completion or even during the work.

In this post, we hope to alleviate those worries.

The Concerns Relating to Service Charges with Airspace Development

One concern that can be easily addressed is a fear that part of the service charge might be put towards the airspace development itself, either the build or the earlier planning stage, for instance paying for architects’ plans.

This use of funds should never occur, to use the service charge to pay for plans or documents relating to the property’s expansion would fall outside the remit of what the charges could be used for.

Established, reputable air space developers also do not look to work in this manner. 

They have the experience to identify properties that are likely to be suitable for Airspace development. Working in partnership with the freeholder, they pay for the costs of the work in the expectation that long term profits will then follow. The service charge is NOT used as a means to raising revenue for the build.

On completion of the work, the concern for tenants can be that there is more to maintain and so the potential for the service charge to rise. 

The building would have a larger square footage, therefore any work to the externals such as repainting would be a larger undertaking, this also true for a job such as upgrading all windows.

Why Air Space Development Leads To Service Charge Reductions

Concerns of service charge increases are in fact unfounded – the reality is the opposite will occur with reductions to the fee enacted. 

The development creates new properties and so the overall service charge burden will be divided between a larger number of stakeholders. The additional storey is also often built with a standing seam aluminium finish that makes it virtually maintenance free – this often in stark contrast to the pre-existing story below with render finish.

All else remaining equal, this would lead to a likely reduction, although, as previously mentioned, the property is now larger, potentially negating some of the benefit of there being more properties to divide any fees between.

One key advantage of airspace development, however, is that a new roof will always be a required part of the build. For many apartment blocks, repairs to the roof are the main concern. When roof repairs are required the cost can run to tens of thousands of pounds.

Opting for airspace development removes this concern, the property benefiting from a new roof that has a lengthy guarantee (typically in excess of 20 years in the case of Upspace, when we are brought in as airspace developers).

Specialist airspace developers will also improve other communal areas and aspects of the property’s infrastructure, these potentially including:

  • Renovation of communal areas such as lobbies or entrances
  • Renovating communal outdoor spaces
  • Improvements to insulation and the exterior of the building
  • Upgrading safety equipment such a fire alarms
  • Upgrading security systems where needed
  • Upgrading thermal efficiency of communal areas

These upgrades enacted, the service charge in future can either be reduced and even used for non-essential work, potentially tasks such as refreshing outside spaces.

About Upspace – specialist Airspace Developers in London

At Upspace, we are specialist airspace developers who develop long-term relationships with work freeholders and leaseholders.

Unlike the majority of airspace developers, we 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).

If you would like further information or to discuss the potential suitability of your property, please get in touch today.