Who owns the loft space?

by Readers Question

11:57 AM, 7th August 2018
About 3 months ago

Who owns the loft space?

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Who owns the loft space?

We own a ground floor flat, a house converted into two flats. We own the freehold of upstairs and the upstairs flat owns the freehold of our flat, we also have a lease in place which has 988 years remaining.

In the lease description for the upstairs flat, it states that the flat comprising the first floor of the building known as ………… aforesaid shown edged in red on Plan 2 and (for identification) edged red on plan 1, and including (a) the roof of the building (including the joists above the first floor and the roof trusses and chimney stacks gutters and rainwater pipes and the drains and soakaways such as rainwater pipes) (b) the ceilings and floors of the flat and the joists and beams (if any) on which the floors are laid (c) the services solely used by the flat.

It also states that they have to keep in repair the above but subject to payment of one half of the expense of such repair from ourselves. Both leases state that we have rights in favour of the Lessee which are included in the lease (3) the right to enter the other flat in order to maintain repair or renew or rebuild such services the flat or any part of the other flat giving support shelter or protection to the flat provided that the Lessee shall: (4) the right to install and maintain a television aerial on the roof of the building and a lead connecting such aerial with the flat. All the above rights are subject to and conditional upon payment by the Lessee of his share of the expenses referred to in paragraphs (3) of the second schedule.

Please can someone advise as to whether they think from the wording of the lease that the loft space belongs to the upstairs flat? The plans edged in red just highlights the first floor and the boundaries, there is a side view of the roof space but this has not been highlighted and I’m not sure whether it would be if they were to own the loft space area?

Many thanks

Jenny



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:58 AM, 7th August 2018
About 3 months ago

Hi Jenny,

I would personally recommend double checking this with the solicitor you used to purchase the property originally.

Ian Narbeth

14:52 PM, 7th August 2018
About 3 months ago

Hi Jenny
You write: " We own the freehold of upstairs and the upstairs flat owns the freehold of our flat". This appears to mean there are two "flying freeholds" (Google it if you don't know what this is) and each of you owns the other's freehold. Very untidy.
It is very odd that the lease includes the roof. This suggests that the upstairs flat also has a lease of the loft space. You may have the freehold of it and there may be restrictions in the lease that you can enforce. As Neil says, see a solicitor.

Rob Crawford

11:57 AM, 8th August 2018
About 3 months ago

Great loft space - we know what your thinking. Just imagine the train layout you could put in there! Seriously though, the freeholder / lease arrangement is bazaar and maybe all parties need to get together and rewrite the title deeds to something more sensible - but that won't be easy!

Arun Damodaran

8:01 AM, 9th August 2018
About 3 months ago

Looks like the wires of the titles have gotten crossed? One would expect both lesses to have a share of freehold but not flying freeholds as you describe. You need specialist advise as suggested by others here.

Ian Narbeth

10:28 AM, 9th August 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Arun Damodaran at 09/08/2018 - 08:01Hi Arun
I think it has been done deliberately so that both owners have to agree to any major changes as each is the other's landlord. I described this as very untidy because it is. Flying freeholds are an abomination in law. A freeholder is supposed to own up to the sky (in practice ownership extends to such height as is necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of the land). A flying freehold such as the one described here means that the lower freehold stops at say 10 feet above the ground level and the upper one starts there. This can create problems with insurance, rebuilding and responsibility for the roof and the foundations.
"Rewriting" the title deeds is far from simple and will easily cost more than the two owners paid their conveyancers on the purchase.

Puzzler

21:10 PM, 10th August 2018
About 3 months ago

The parcels clause in the lease includes everything above and below unless specifically excluded. It is most likely the upper flat owns the loft space subject to your access as described. Why do you want to know?


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