Responsibility for maintenance of windows when not specifically mentioned in lease

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    Responsibility for maintenance of windows when not specifically mentioned in lease

    I have a couple of linked questions on behalf of a friend with regards to the obligations for maintenance and/or replacement of the windows (frames and glass) in his leasehold flat.

    He is a leaseholder of one of the flats in a converted house. The freehold is owned by three of the flat owners, including my friend, via a declaration of trust.

    The other trustees are putting pressure on my friend to replace one of his (single glazed, timber framed) windows with a double glazed unit. In his view the window is in need of some attention but not necessarily replacement. We have looked at his lease to check whether the other trustees can force him to replace the window and, if so, whether the replacement needs to be ‘upgraded’ to a double glazed unit, but windows aren’t specifically mentioned either in the definition of the demised premises or in the clauses dealing with the repairing obligations of the Lessee and Lessor.

    The Demise
    The demised premises are described as including
    "….. the flat ….. shown and edged with the colour red on the plan ..……….. TOGETHER WITH the staircase leading from the front door of the flat to the entrance door on the ground floor of the Building and including the pathway and internal and external walls of the Building on the same level …….."

    The lease:
    The lease requires him to maintain the demised premises (other than certain excluded bits) and “all walls sewers drains/pipes cables wires and appurtenances thereto belonging” in good repair.

    The bits excluded from the Lessee’s maintenance requirements are follows:

    “(7) …the Lessor will maintain and keep in good and tenantable repair and condition
    1. the main structure of the Building including the foundations and the roof thereof with its gutters and rain waterpipes
    2. all such gas and water pipes drains and electric cables and wires in under and upon the property which are enjoyed or used by the Lessor in common with the owners or lessees of the other flats
    3. the paths on the property enjoyed or used by the Lessee in common as hereinafter provided and the boundary walls and fences of the property and will keep the gardens cultivated and in good order
    (8) The Lessor will so often as reasonably required decorate the exterior of the Building on the Property in the manner in which the same is at the time of this demise decorated or as near thereto as circumstances permit. “

    The questions
    So ……
    1. I think the main question boils down to whether the windows are classed as part of the main structure of the Building, and therefore part of the Lessor's repairing obligations? I have read a summary of the definition of the word ‘building’ in Pattrick v Marley Estates Management but I am still unclear as to what this means in the case of my friend’s lease. I would welcome your views please!

    If the Lessee is responsible for repairing and maintaining the windows I have a couple of follow on questions
    1. is there any reason why a replacement window would have to be double glazed rather than a like for like replacement? (obviously there are benefits to a double glazed unit but costs are an issue)
    2. who would be responsible for paying for repairs to the window if it was damaged as a result of work carried out (by the Lessor) to the wall above it, or because the Lessor didn’t meet their repairing obligations to the exterior brickwork and allowed the window to become degraded?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this far - hope it makes sense!

    My take would be that they are the leaseholder's responsibility, but the wording could be clearer.

    It would, I believe, be a breach of building regulations to replace them with single glazing, and I don't think any Fensa or Certass contractor would accept such a job, even if grandfathering is technically allowed.

    The person whose negligence resulted in the damage would be responsible. I don't think this is a lease related question. I think he might have a hard time with a consequential loss claim relating to maintaining the walls.


      That's very helpful, leaseholder64 - thank you.

      I hadn't realised that double glazing was now a requirement of building regs as I've only needed to replace a couple of cracked panes (not an entire window) in my own single glazing in recent years, so it's good to know about that!


        I'm not sure whether it is actually double glazing or simply a level of insulation that can only reasonably be achieved with that and low E glass.


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