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Non-exclusive use of a balcony?

(10 Posts)
SpotTheDuck Thu 06-Oct-16 13:58:28

We made an offer on a flat, with a large balcony. The only doors to the balcony are from the living room, and we assumed the balcony comes with the flat.

Now we've seen the legal papers, it turns out the balcony is owned by the freeholder, and we just get a right to use it for recreational purposes. That right is granted in common with the landlord and any third parties who may also have rights over the balcony, and they have the right to go through the flat to get to the balcony.

We find this a bit weird! Our lawyer is very relaxed about it and has implied this is all normal.

Wondered if anybody has experience of this? Is it just normal and in practice we'll be able to use the balcony as if it's really ours?

wowfudge Thu 06-Oct-16 14:12:48

I'd be more worried about the right to go through the flat to access the balcony. What if they were to rock up every evening in summer to do so? Are there any restrictions as to their use?

namechangedtoday15 Thu 06-Oct-16 14:28:09

Quite usual IME but get your solicitor to explain it in more detail if you are concerned. Balconies are often excluded from the leasehold so as to ensure (from the freeholders point of view) that they are properly maintained (along with the roof / exterior of the property etc) and the rights you're talking about are usually in relation to access for repairs / maintenance. There is not (usually) a general right for the freeholder and 3rd parties to use the balcony.

CanadianJohn Thu 06-Oct-16 14:33:14

I'd question this further. What if the neighbours like to have their morning coffee on the balcony, every morning? And other neighbours like to have a late-night glass of wine on the balcony?

Not to mention all the smokers in the building passing through your living room on their way to have a quick ciggy.

Spam88 Thu 06-Oct-16 14:35:34

I guess your query would be over who else has a right to access the balcony?

SpotTheDuck Thu 06-Oct-16 14:53:38

Thanks all - the way the lease is worded the landlord and third parties have a right to access the apartment to exercise any rights they have, so if they have a right to use the balcony then they can come through the flat to do it.

This is exactly what's bothering me! The other flats in the block don't all have balconies, so I can see why they might want to use ours.

There's nothing written in the lease that limits their access rights so it's just for repairs etc.

Lawyer has sort of said it's normal but not gone into detail...

FourToTheFloor Thu 06-Oct-16 14:59:10

That would worry. Access for repairs would be OK. Access because it's a lovely day and everyone would like a beer on the balcony not so!

elfonshelf Thu 06-Oct-16 15:08:42

Third parties means things like builders appointed by the landlord/freeholder - it doesn't mean other tenants of the building.

Is this clause in the leasehold agreement? If so then it does sound pretty normal, but you might want to think about having something put in that states that you require 48hrs notice before any access.

Having had a flat with a very large balcony and very similar clauses (including one saying no plants/furniture that all of us completely ignored), the only time it ever came up as an issue was when they were redecorating the outside and wanted to put scaffolding up.

In 6 years, no-one ever walked through our house and other than the scaffolders/painters having a sneaky cigarette no-one ever tried to use our balcony.

SpotTheDuck Thu 06-Oct-16 15:25:43

The lease was granted a few years ago, I'm surprised the buyer then didn't query these provisions.

Thing is I understand what the intention is (and no issue with the landlord letting people on to maintain the building structure etc) but the language of the lease just refers to other people having rights, it doesn't limit them, so we are uneasy

H1ghw4y61Revisited Sat 08-Oct-16 11:40:33

It's a standard Lease Term, it's drafted in a broad fashion deliberately to allow for any type of tradesperson etc to come in and maintain the balcony. Any leasehold property will have the same sort of clause allowing access to maintain, repair, renew services on the property. In reality no one is going to come into your house onto your balcony. Your lawyer is being chill about it because they understand the situation. Don't worry smile

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