A flying freehold is where part of a freehold property is located above or below part of another property belonging to someone else, such as a terraced house with a room above a shared passageway or where a property has been converted into two but the division is not straight down the middle. The owner of the flying freehold property is relying on the owner of the adjoining property to maintain their property sufficiently to avoid causing damage to the flying freehold.
Problems can arise if the deeds to both properties do not contain sufficient rights and obligations in relation to support, access, and repair, and covenants to enforce these obligations between the adjoining owners. Another issue is whether the adjoining owner’s property is insured or their insurance is adequate. Your solicitor should check the title deeds and make appropriate enquiries of the seller’s solicitor and advise you whether sufficient protection is in place.
If you are looking to buy with a mortgage, you should be aware that not all mortgage providers are prepared to lend where there is a flying freehold. Indemnity insurance may be required to protect against losses sustained due to lack of maintenance/repairs by the adjoining owner.
For those of you who own or are considering purchasing a property below the flying freehold part of the building please take note of your maintenance/repair obligations and ensure you have suitable buildings insurance.
Owners of properties affected by flying freehold should bear in mind that the issues outlined above are likely to limit the pool of potential buyers when you come to sell in the future. Also, ensure you provide your solicitor with a copy of any flying freehold indemnity insurance policy currently in place.
A flying freehold does not have to be a barrier to your property plans but if you are concerned about the implications of purchasing such a property you should raise this with your solicitor, broker/lender and surveyor at the earliest opportunity.
For further advice please contact our residential property team who will be happy to help.
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