Does a freeholder extension automatically become communal?

Does a freeholder extension automatically become communal?

10:41 AM, 29th December 2022, About A year ago 4

Text Size

Hello, The freeholder of a block of flats in which I own one (20 in total) built an extension in order to access two additional Penthouse flats which he built and then sold on. The only way to access the new flats was for him to build this extension in which he housed a fire escape usable by all tenants (communal??) but is the only access for the penthouses.

This extension was built in 2010. The leases were never updated to reflect this extra communal area and the original leases have a block footprint which does not include the extension.

The leases state that communal area maintenance are required to be paid for by the lessees and lists out: landings, roofs, ‘the building’ garden paths and the dustbin shed. The fire escape is part of the building but changes the footprint of what the building looked like before the extension.

Works are now required to repair the extension as the building quality was so poor that less than 15 years later it requires extensive repairs. Who is responsible? It is a communal area which leaseholders are usually responsible for but it was never added as additional communal space to the leases…?

Do extensions which add communal space automatically become the responsibility of the leaseholders?

Thank you,


Share This Article


Glyn Jenkins

12:23 PM, 29th December 2022, About A year ago

I'm not legally trained but I would have thought your lease states you pay 1, 20th of the budget.
The additional flats would need current Leaseholders to agree to a DOV.
It doesn't sound like this has been done.
You need to contact the Freeholder and point out the error of his ways.


12:50 PM, 29th December 2022, About A year ago

If not in the lease then you don't have to pay. The lease needs to be updated when you will probably have to pay. You all have to agree to the new terms (or a very high majority when it has to go to tribunal). So if you don't then I think the freeholder will have to pay and cannot claim it back. I think you need specialist legal advice.

Laura Delow

13:32 PM, 29th December 2022, About A year ago

Maybe consider speaking to an expert in anything leasehold such as Bernie Wales.

Peter G

17:37 PM, 31st December 2022, About A year ago

If the leaseholders responsibility is limited to the ground plan in the lease then you should not be liable. If the Lease description is more general and not linked to the plan then you may be liable. A compromise might be for the old leaseholders to agree to pay a % of future maintenance - now or in 3 years' time - (as they benefit from having a new fire escape which may increase the value / attractiveness of the block, in theory) if the Freeholder pays for the current maintenance and for the legal changes to the leases. (the new penthouses may pay a higher % of costs, perhaps 50%, as it is their main route). A Lease specialist solicitor sounds like a good idea.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now