What is a flying freehold?
“Flying freeholds arise when part of one property is built on top of part of another property, and so the upper property owner does not own the building or land underneath the “flying” part.”
One of the most common examples of when a flying freehold might occur is when a room or rooms are situated above a shared passageway in a row of terraced houses.
What are the potential problems if a property is subject to a flying freehold?
The main pitfalls that a conveyancer will look out for when dealing with a flying freehold are; whether the property has the right to be supported or protected by the other, and also whether there are adequate rights for the property owner to enter upon the other land to carry out maintenance and repairs.
If the property does not have such rights this could make a lender reluctant to offer a mortgage against the property.
Why is the lack of adequate rights an issue?
The owner of a property with a flying freehold may come into difficulties where the other owner fails to maintain and repair their property, and this has a negative impact on integrity of the structure upon which the flying freehold rests.
Let’s take an example to demonstrate how this might work in practice.
Imagine a row of terraced houses. Two of the terraces (A and B) have a passageway between them, which A owns, however part of B’s property extends over the passageway.
If the owner of property A fails to keep the passageway repaired, and the owner of property B does not have rights of access in order to undertake the repairs, this could threaten the part of the property B which is ‘flying’, the structure of the passageway and also the safety of people using the passageway.
How can the problem of a flying freehold be overcome?
Your conveyancer will be able to take you through a number of options to deal with a flying freehold. Amongst the possible solutions are the options of obtaining indemnity insurance or entering into deeds of mutual easement and covenants with the adjoining landowner. As every property is different, your conveyancer will be able to inform you of the best way forward for your particular circumstances.
Not every flying freehold is the same and there is scope for other issues to arise; for example, if Land Registry has registered the title of a property without being aware that there is a flying freehold arrangement between it and the next door property. Resolving such an oversight could cause lengthy delays to your transaction while Land Registry reviews their file to work out how to rectify any issues.
Thursfields has an experienced property team who will be able to advise you on the issues associated with a flying freehold and work with you to overcome these.
To discuss flying freeholds in more detail please contact our property team on 0345 20 73 72 8 or email firstname.lastname@example.org