House Doctor: 'My prospective buyer is unhappy with my freehold. What should I do?'


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.

housedoctor@independent.co.uk

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?