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Flying Freeholds: What They Are and How They Work

Updated: Sep 17, 2023


 

A house with a tree

A flying freehold is a type of property ownership arrangement that is commonly found in older buildings, especially those that have been subdivided into multiple units. In a flying freehold, part of one property overhangs or underlies part of another property, creating a shared area that is not owned by either property owner. This can lead to a number of legal and practical issues for both parties, which we will explore in more detail below.



How Flying Freeholds Work


Flying freeholds typically arise when one property is built over or under another property, with the two properties sharing a common wall or floor. This can occur in a number of different scenarios, such as when a building is converted into flats or apartments, or when an extension is added to an existing property. In some cases, the flying freehold may be intentional, such as when two parties agree to jointly own a particular area of a property.



Legal and Practical Issues


Despite the unique nature of flying freeholds, they are subject to the same legal and practical issues that arise in other types of property ownership arrangements. One of the biggest challenges with flying freeholds is determining who is responsible for maintaining and repairing the shared area. This can be particularly problematic if one party is reluctant to contribute to the costs of upkeep or disputes arise over the extent of the shared area.



Selling and Mortgaging a Flying Freehold Property


If you are buying or selling a property with a flying freehold, it is important to be aware of the potential legal and practical issues that may arise. For example, lenders may be hesitant to approve a mortgage on a flying freehold property, as the shared area can complicate matters if the property needs to be repossessed. Similarly, buyers may be reluctant to purchase a flying freehold property due to the potential for disputes with the neighboring property owner.


If you are unsure about flying freehold, at Land Registry Online, we offer a Title Register and Title Plan service that allows you to easily obtain this information. Simply select the desired documents, complete your details, and you will receive your documents by email within a few hours.



Resolving Disputes Over Flying Freeholds


If you find yourself in a dispute over a flying freehold, there are several options for resolving the issue. In some cases, the matter may be resolved through negotiation or mediation between the two property owners. Alternatively, legal action may be necessary to clarify the rights and responsibilities of each party. It is important to seek legal advice from a qualified solicitor or conveyancer who specialises in flying freehold properties.



Summary


In summary, flying freeholds can be a complex and challenging aspect of property ownership, particularly in older buildings with multiple units. However, with the right advice and guidance, it is possible to navigate these issues and ensure that both parties are able to enjoy their properties to the fullest extent possible. If you are dealing with a flying freehold property, we encourage you to seek out the advice of a qualified legal professional who can help you understand your rights and obligations.



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