Shared roof - who is liable for costs?

(16 Posts)
HopeNotFear Sat 18-Mar-17 15:10:40

We live in in an upper flat in Edinburgh in a colony type house. I've had a building survey done recently and the roof needs re-slated (original slates, over a 100 years old with horse hair between slates & sarking boards), both chimney stacks need to be lowered, one needs rebuilt again, and gutters need replaced.

We know the cost of chimney and rainwater repairs are shared between the 4 owners in our block, however the re-slate is not so clear. The surveyor thinks the re-slate of our half of the roof is our responsibility as we have built into the attic and have velux windows in the roof area, so my downstairs neighbour would not have to pay for this part of the work.

The title deeds (held by our solicitor) simply state roof repairs are shared equally and there is no mention of responsibility changing if attics are converted (to be fair, a 117 ago, no-one would have known attics would be converted and velux window would be put in the roof space).

We'll be using the surveyor to issue tenders & oversee the work and they will split the costs between chimney repairs, rainwater goods and re-slating, scaffold etc.

Does anyone have any experience of this. We have a lovely neighbour downstairs and before we discuss the work needing done, we would like to know who will be liable for what.

Thanks for your help.

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 18-Mar-17 17:51:25

Loft conversion would not override the requirement that responsibility for roof is shared.

AgentProvocateur Sat 18-Mar-17 18:10:18

Check out the Tenement Act too on your LA website (it's not just for tenements) as it makes it clear what repairs are "scheme".

HopeNotFear Mon 20-Mar-17 22:03:14

Thanks for your replys.

I'm picking up my title deeds from the solicitors later this week to have another look at them incase I missed something last time. I've also been looking act The Tenement Act, and my interpretation is that the roof remains shared even when the attic soace is owned by the top flat.

Would be great if someone else has actually been through this scenario.

Toottootcar Mon 20-Mar-17 22:47:45

You have had an impact on the roof though by putting a window in it! The tenement act does not overrule your actual deeds ime. Did you need your neighbour's permission to convert the attic?

HopeNotFear Tue 21-Mar-17 08:40:02

Hi Toottootcar, we didn't ask the neighbours permission to put velux windows in as the attic space below the roof belongs exclusively to the upper flats in our type of house. As far as we're aware, no-one in our area who has converted their attic (and most have) consulted neighbours, other than the Council issuing the standard planning letters to neighbours, at which time I guess downstairs could have objected but didn't. The flat downstairs has been sold twice since the attic was converted.

I agree that putting velux in the roof has had an impact on it and the velux windows & air vents etc will be maintained/replaced at our own cost as and when required. However the maintenance of the slates is where it's still a grey area.

Toottootcar Tue 21-Mar-17 13:59:37

I suspect it is still a shared cost. Only a judge can ultimately decide though - if everyone agrees to pay up all well and good. If they disagree, are you willing to pay a bit more yourself?
If I were your neighbour I would be asking where this survey came from - are you fixing something that's a problem, or doing the house up for a sale? Your neighbours have a right not to accept the surveyors opinion on this. Although maintenance is included as well as repair, if what you are doing really amounts to home improvement they don't have to agree. Call a meeting of your neighbours (after you've seen the deeds) as you need a majority to support the work.
That's what I'd do anyway, not a lawyer though! But have been involved in this kind of situation from the other side.

Qwebec Tue 21-Mar-17 15:32:36

You could divide the cost by square feet used. Say there are 4 owners, everyone has 1000 square feet of dwelling but you have 2000 sqf, you divide the costs in five and you pay two shares.

HopeNotFear Tue 21-Mar-17 19:23:18

I have already spoken to the owners of the other top flat and they confirm the rear chimney does need lowered & capped. However, they are reluctant to spend money re-slating theit side of the roof. The 2nd chimney stack is between us, my neighbour downstairs & the adjacent top and bottom flats, and they are aware of the hole in the stonework.

I actually work as an admin assistant in a building Surveyors office, so one of the Surveyors done the survey as a favour. They will produce a report of their findings, and the roof & chimney stacks are in such bad condition it will be hard to argue against their findings. However, that doesn't necessary mean they will want to part with their cash.

The repairs are what I would call essential maintenance, i.e., slates continuously slipping causing water ingress in a few areas, rear chimney is dangerous and if a strong wind caught it the wrong way, some of the stones could come down. We have paid for patch repairs ourselves over the years, but can't continue to do so, and this us why we're keen to just get everything done. We've no intention of moving for years and years.

I actually think the square footage would be a fair way to split the cost of the slatework, it's certainly something to think about.

We're on good terms with all our neighbours, and once I have had a look at the title deeds & get the survey report, ill hand them a copy and invite them to a meeting to see if we can move forward. I'll probably need to organise a separate meeting for the adjacent owners who share responsibility of the other chimney.

Will let you all know how we get on, fingers crossed our 'nice' neighbours will continue to be nice & reasonable.

Qwebec Tue 21-Mar-17 20:05:23

In any case everyone needs a roof. It would still be fair if you decided that each owner pays the same amount.
It just depends how nice you want to be and if an incentive to get the work done now would help motivate the others to agree. Note of caution: if you offer to split by square footage used, it might set precedent the next time the house needs work done.

HopeNotFear Thu 23-Mar-17 15:37:49

We managed to get hold of our title deeds (dating back to 1905), see attached photo of one small part of them.

It states repairs are to be proportioned by fueduties which is good for us. However, there is absolutely no mention in the deeds regarding ownership of the attic space (the cellar below our stairs are mentioned, as are all rooms & grounds but nothing about the attic space). Entry to the attic has always been through through a hatch inside the top flats, and there are no common stairs. The attics are separated by brick walls so it seems obvious they're owned by the top flats, but it's odd ther is no mention of this space.

We didn't obtain consent to add velux windows, but as the freduty was redeemed in 1974 I am assuming this is fine.

Our neighbours in the other top flat have already stated they don't think their roof needs repaired so it's likely it will only be our half. As such, my understanding is that the cost of this part of the work will be split between our downstairs neighbour and ourselves, despite the fact we have added velux windows into the roof.

Or am I missing something, anyone agree / disagree?

Qwebec Thu 23-Mar-17 16:21:18

I would think it makes sense. The only part I would say is yours to pay for is if there is extra expenses because of the windows. However I'm not an expert.

Boulshired Thu 23-Mar-17 16:29:31

Not sure if this helps, it might also help asking in scotsnet.
www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/who-owns-attic-space-and-roof-tenement

Toottootcar Thu 23-Mar-17 17:01:11

You certainly don't want the lower flat owner looking closely at their deeds and deciding that they own a share of the attic space.

Littleelffriend Thu 23-Mar-17 17:12:51

All flats should share the cost equally regardless. I'm in Scotland and recently repaired the roof on a top floor property that I let out. Everyone payed equally, no matter which side they stayed on. You should really get all the slates done together.

user1487194234 Thu 23-Mar-17 17:21:41

The bit of the title doed not show who owns the attic
If the title is silent on this then under the Tenement Act it belongs to top floor flat
Attics are often common property
The bit about access to repair the roof makes it likely the attic belongs to top floor

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