Think a professional is expensive try using an amateur

For example:

Home owners often face a bewildering array of options in regard to decisions about the future of their property, writes Zah Azeem, Partner at Wimbledon based Chartered Surveyors Scrivener Tibbatts.

• Do we move?
• Do we downsize?
• Do we improve/invest in what we already own?
• Do we extend/invest in a new property?
• Do we share our home with relatives?
• Do we need formal documentation such as party wall awards or partnership/sharing agreements?

It helps to share discussions on these important issues with an independent expert who can give impartial advice in the best financial interests of all those concerned.

That’s where a Chartered Surveyor can help. We’re all qualified and accredited every year through our membership of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. The ‘Red Book’ is the global standards document produced by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors on which chartered surveyors rely.

The importance of using a qualified professional invariably only surfaces when things go wrong. Doing your own conveyancing may be cheap but if you think using a professional can be expensive the cost of using an amateur can be much greater!

Not all Chartered Surveyors offer the same services. Here at Scrivener Tibbatts we’re one of London’s leading specialists in valuing properties for leaseholders who want to extend the lease on their flat.

Flat owners who have owned their flats for two years or more are entitled to demand a lease extension of 90 years in addition to their existing unexpired term. But whilst that might suit the eight  million or so leaseholders in the UK increasingly leaseholders want to own their share of the freehold of the building so they truly ‘own’ their property.

Flat owners wishing to purchase the freehold of their property may demand to do so at any time provided at least 50% of eligible flat owners also apply. Now the law around freehold enfranchisement as it is called is quite specialist and requires some experienced in many different case studies.

Whether you are the freeholder having to negotiate with multiple leaseholders, or a group of freeholders wanting to take control and manage the whole building in which you live, we can help. 

Leasehold enfranchisement includes the processes of lease extension, freehold acquisition and the correction of management problems within leasehold properties. ALEP (the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners) exists to ensure that specialists involved in this sector adhere to an agreed level of conduct and service.

“Scrivener Tibbatts Chartered Surveyors were recommended to me by a friend. They are highly reputable, reliable and professional from start to finish. I have no hesitation recommending them to family and friends.” – Mark Littlejohn, Richmond

I’m delighted we’ve have been a member of ALEP since our inception, 16 years’ ago. Membership of this professional association is a badge of assurance – to leaseholders and freeholders – that they can be sure of a consistently high level of service, integrity and professionalism. In a nutshell, if you’re extending your lease, or buying a freehold from a firm that isn’t a member, you’re probably making a mistake, in our opinion.

Something else across Wimbledon that we see a great number of cases about are party wall issues. Party walls are shared walls separating buildings such as semi-detached and terraced houses. A floor separating two flats is a party structure.
 You must notify your neighbour if you are planning any extension or major structural alterations.

A loft extension, for example, will likely mean that supporting steels will have to be inserted into the party wall to support the new structure.  The building owner is entitled to do this, but he must give his neighbour formal and due notice.  An adjoining neighbour is allowed by law to appoint his own surveyor in order to protect their interests. In some cases neighbours can appoint an agreed surveyor who will act impartially for both parties and draws up an award specifying the works to be carried out.

The RICS Consumer Guide to Party Walls has the details of legal rights and requirements if you’re considering work to party walls. But the risk of sounding like a broken record, don’t take a chance. Seek the advice of a qualified professional surveyor who has expertise in dealing with party wall matters, or whenever you’re buying or selling a property.

If you would like to discuss something related to a property valuation, please contact me direct via email at or call 020 8947 7040.