All About Flying Freeholds
What is flying freehold?
Flying freehold occurs when part of a freehold property or land overhangs or lies beneath another person’s freehold property. It’s not unusual, especially in older buildings and terraces – it can be part of an attic or bedroom lying over the neighbour’s kitchen, or over the alleyway between the two houses. The flying part can be small – maybe only a few feet, but if it’s liveable space (part of a room), it counts as flying freehold. Features like gutters and similar don’t count.
Does it matter?
Yes, as each property and its owners have rights. The upper property has the right of support and the lower the right of shelter. The lower owner has a duty to keep the building standing and the upper owner has to maintain the roof so both properties don’t get flooded. Each owner also has the right to enter the other’s property to perform repairs and maintenance.
Your conveyancing solicitor will be interested in flying freehold because the covenants around these rights have to be renewed whenever a property changes hands. You may have to enter into a new deed of covenant if you’re buying a property with a flying freehold.
Are mortgage lenders happy with flying freeholds?
It depends on each individual lender. Some will lend on flying freeholds if the flying portion doesn’t exceed a certain proportion of the property; others will lend if there is flying freehold indemnity insurance and still others won’t lend on flying freehold under any circumstances. Ideally, you should consult your conveyancing solicitor to find out more and also consult the Council of Mortgage Lenders website.
Is flying freehold indemnity insurance the answer?
This type of insurance is readily available for properties and titles that feature or are affected by flying freehold. It’s useful to home buyers and mortgage applicants for instances of insufficient or inadequate cross covenants and for repair obligations.
However, as not all lenders will approve mortgages on flying freehold properties, your conveyance will have to notify the lender that the property is flying freehold. This may mean you have to look for an alternative mortgage provider.
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