Owners of luxury flats in Cardiff and Swansea have unexpectedly received large bills for maintenance / fire protection work on their properties, £40,000 (This is not a typo!) in Swansea. If you are buying a leasehold property check very carefully the terms of the lease. These properties will now be more difficult to sell at a reasonable price and prospective buyers may have difficulty in obtaining a mortgage.
The government has withdrawn plans to hugely increase probate fees.
Latest scams include supposedly from Royal Mail attempting a delivery online and persistent phone calls from Amazon Prime regarding payment. They want bank details / remote access to your computer.
Lloyds Bank announced that it mislaid and has now found 9,000 wills in “safe storage” after 8 years. Many estates were incorrectly distributed. If you arranged a will via a bank many years ago check that it still exists. The will may need updating if your bank was appointed as an executor (with very high fees) as many banks no longer act as executors.
Ensure your executors know the location of where your will is kept.
Ask Huw: I am a pensioner with a large house and am contemplating downsizing to a retirement community apartment. Any comments?
- There is an increased supply of retirement apartments. They often come with a communal lounge / café / gym and a guest suite for visiting family. They offer more facilities than a normal flat but are usually much more expensive to purchase.
- You will be liable to pay a significantly higher monthly fee compared to normal maintenance charges to pay for the additional amenities.
- There can be restrictions / costs / fees when the time comes for you or your families to sell the property and older developments have seen substantial losses for some owners.
- Read the conditions of purchase / maintenance / selling diligently.
- After taking these into consideration, if it works for you, go ahead, but with your eyes wide open as to future commitments.