PROPERTY ADVICE FROM SIMON MEEK: ​Q. Dear Simon, when I agreed to purchase a property recently I was told that I would have permission from the freeholder landlord so I could bring my cat with me and put a shed in the garden. The property is an apartment and it has now come to light that the lease clearly shows that pets are not allowed and I will not be able to erect a shed as first suggested. In my view these are deal breakers, so what do I do?

A. If it was the selling agent that suggested you would be able to have both your cat and shed at the property then they should really be your first port of call. You will need to ascertain whether they actually had a discussion with their client and had obtained a special dispensation for the cat and shed OR perhaps they were unfamiliar with the terms of the lease. Once they have clarified this for you then you will need to take this up with your solicitor. New terms may need to be negotiated or you may need to withdraw your interest to find something which will cater for your specific requirements.

Q. Dear Simon, over the years my husband and I have been visiting the Island and we are now looking to buy a holiday home there. We have always enjoyed our annual visits and are looking to spend even more time there if we manage to find the right place. Unfortunately, we are finding our budget is a little limiting and suitable properties seem to be few and far between, what can we do to improve our options?

A. You have a few options available; firstly you could opt for a property which needs improving. This way you can afford to purchase a better property for less money and budget to gradually refurbish it overtime. Secondly, as you will need to furnish the home, you could holiday let the property for the peak weeks of the season creating an income to either cover some financing costs (mortgage or loan) or cover the associated running costs so you can free up more capital initially. This would still leave you plenty weeks to enjoy the property yourselves. A more limiting third option would be to rent out the property for 6 months of the year, winter perhaps, enjoy the summer months yourselves and use the income in a similar way to option 2. The availability side of things is perhaps more limiting at times but rest assured the right property could be just around the corner so do persevere and I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of you on the Island soon.

Q. Dear Simon, I am contemplating buying a static caravan on a site on the mainland as a weekend retreat. Do you have any advice regarding a purchase of this nature?

A. Not knowing the intended area I can only offer a couple of pointers for that type of purchase. Firstly, I would look in to the associated costs for having the caravan on the site i.e. services (electric, water etc), ground rent, service charges etc. I am sure these will vary from site to site and although the initial purchase price may be attractive you do not want to encumber yourselves with high annual costs especially ones you will pay whether you use the caravan regularly or not. How old is it and how does the price compare to a new version? This will show up the rate of depreciation you might expect in years to come, caravans are more akin to cars in this way. You may also wish to look at the rules regarding resale, can you sell the caravan yourself or do the site owners have a monopoly on this? Do you pay the site regardless whether you sell or they sell it? All of these pointers may not apply to the caravan you have chosen and they are just intended as a guide and a prompt for you to consider the purchase fully as you are not likely to have the protection of a solicitor acting on your behalf.