I can see upstairs' unkempt flat from my garden flat.

(5 Posts)
thurstonbokris Fri 02-Sep-16 14:21:24

Hi everyone,
This is my first post here. I couldn't find this topic from searching so hope I'm posting in the right place.

I am considering a few different flats to buy. My first choice flat is a garden flat in good repair in a victorian terrace. The front of the building is all in good condition - top flat and ground floor flat sections (brickwork, windows etc). But the back clearly needs some cleaning / re-rendering / repainting etc (it is shingle/pebbledash). Especially the top floor flat's part of the exterior, which they can't see because only I have access to the garden.

My question is, who is responsible for maintaining this? Obviously as upstairs can't see the back exterior of their own flat, it doesn't benefit them to keep it in good condition and they haven't. I'm sure it is nothing structurally wrong, just years of soot and dirt in the shingle, peeling paint around windows, broken shingle. The front of the house is in very good condition, so it is not as if the upstairs aren't house-proud, but they simply can't see or access the back exterior of their flat which the whole of it probably needs re-rendering.

The flats are both leasehold btw. Does anyone have experience with a situation like this?

wowfudge Fri 02-Sep-16 14:39:25

It depends what the leases state. Who owns the freehold?

lalalonglegs Fri 02-Sep-16 15:18:18

It would be down to the freeholder to organise works and the cost would be split between the two leaseholders so you will be paying (probably) half the costs which are likely to be substantial as many non-resident freeholders add a lot bit on for their time and trouble.

Unless the flats are share-of-freehold, the upstairs leaseholder will have very little control over what works are done to the building and it really isn't a case of him/her being houseproud or not.

thurstonbokris Fri 02-Sep-16 15:47:55

Thanks for the responses!

The leasehold is owned by a third party.

These are hypothetical situations but it would help me understand how these things work:

1. If both flats want to repair the back exterior of the property, but the freeholder says no for some reason, can this happen? And can leaseholders force freeholders to allow maintenance? Can one leaseholder force both parties to allow maintenance to be carried out (If thinking of absent or lazy or painfully slow freeholders)

2. I've read that leaseholders have a right to buy their freehold. If both flats want to buy the freehold can the freeholder refuse to be bought out? Does the freeholder set the price?

3. If one flat wants to buy the freehold for the entire building (if the other flat isn't interested), does the one leaseholder owner still have right to buy their freehold if it is just 1 party and not both parties buying?

Thanks for your help!

lalalonglegs Fri 02-Sep-16 17:13:05

The easiest way to think about leasehold is to accept that a leaseholder doesn't own the building, just has a right to live there for however many years are on the lease (and sell that right on). So a leaseholder cannot legally undertake work to the building because it doesn't belong to him. If a freeholder neglects a building then there are ways of coercing him into taking action but it is a long and drawn out business.

Yes, a leaseholder often has a right to buy a share of the freehold but again, if the freeholder is not willing, it can be a long and drawn out business and the fees can mount up (although the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal will ultimately decide the price that the freehold is worth in these disputed cases).

I believe that you only need 50% of leaseholders who want to buy the freehold in order to qualify although the leaseholders who don't want to do this need to sign away their right.

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