House Doctor: 'My prospective buyer is unhappy with my freehold. What should I do?'
Friday 18 February 2011
Question: The buyer of our terraced home is kicking up a stink because of a "flying freehold". She's never heard of them and wants us to significantly drop our asking price or – as requested by her solicitor – pay for an insurance policy against it.
We can't believe what a red herring this is, and want her to see there's no problem. Can you recommend any action, or should we simply buy this flying freehold insurance to move ahead with the sale?
Jan Elsen, Middlesbrough
Answer: You may see a flying freehold as little more than an irritation but it's no red herring – ignore it and you could struggle to sell your home.
A so-called "flying freehold" is a room or space inside a freehold property that stretches into – or over part of – a neighbour's house.
It could be an upstairs bedroom that lies directly above part of next door's downstairs lounge or above a shared outdoor passage.
It is very common with terraced homes and some semi-detached properties, and legally, says Andy Montlake at broker Coreco, "it means you won't own the land, rather you'll own the piece of property that is directly over the land".
Usually, it causes no problem to anyone and represents nothing more than a tiny administrative burden at the Land Registry where it must appear clearly on your title deeds.
But, as you've discovered, it can throw a spanner in the works.
If a water leak caused damage to the property covered by the flying freehold, for example, neighbours can refute the proposed shared repair costs. Or, if a planned property extension is likely to impact on their share of the flying freehold, they could refuse access.
None of this is a problem, of course, if you maintain good neighbourly relations but here's the rub (and the root of your buyer's concern): lenders don't like flying freeholds.
If a bath leaked in an upstairs bathroom that extended over a neighbour's front room, responsibility for damage repairs – especially when there's no insurance – can get murky.
This risk can put mortgage companies off, but the insurance policy suggested by your buyer's lawyer is a way around it. Known as a flying indemnity policy, it protects you – or your buyer – if any disputes flare up.
It'll cost no more than a couple of hundred pounds, and will keep your buyer and their lender happy. Keeping your sale on track will be worth it.
Life & Style blogs
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...