Understanding the costs of central London apartments

Published May 17, 2013 – 2 mins read

As people choose whether to purchase or invest in central London apartments, how much consideration do they really give to the annual costs that come with the property? There is no doubt that London is currently one of the prime addresses to invest in residential property. As prices throughout the rest of the UK continue to increase modestly, values in the capital have been soaring at rates not seen since before the economic crisis.

Running a building in central London however, is expensive. Each apartment within any building has a prescribed share of the costs, as set out in their lease and this share can sometimes be eye-wateringly high. Known as the ‘Service Charges’, these costs incorporate the building insurance, the electricity for the common parts, the maintenance of the door intercom and the fee for the managing agent. Those are the basic costs for the majority of any block of flats, large or small. Add to those the additional items for the larger or purpose built blocks, such as lift maintenance, a porter’s salary, communal heating and hot water, garden maintenance, underground parking, to name but a few and the annual charge can run into many thousands of pounds. For example, a mansion block in Mayfair may be a wonderful place to live, but one could be paying £20,000 per annum for a share in running the building. In some cases, the upkeep is even more adventurous. Window cleaners who have to abseil off the top of the building, falcons employed to keep pigeons away, swimming pools with Ozone cleaning technology, entry systems with retina or fingerprint scanning. These all sound very ‘other-world’ but they are becoming more standard as the London property industry grows.

Periodically, there comes the ‘major’ expenditure. The lease for any building should set out when the common parts, inside and out, should be redecorated. These vary from every 4-5 years to 8-9 years. When these works arrive, each apartment has to commit to their share of the costs and these can be substantial, especially if the roof needs replacing.

At Garrington, our team take time to ensure our clients are fully aware of the upcoming and ongoing costs of the building they are buying into. Having helped numerous clients invest in properties such as these, our experienced team can offer impartial advice to those looking to invest in central London apartments, ensuring that they arrive at an informed decision before investing.