Balcony is not mentioned in the lease - who is responsible for repairs ?

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    Balcony is not mentioned in the lease - who is responsible for repairs ?

    Hello,

    I own a flat in an old converted house .We all own the freehold and there is no managing agency involved. We have six flats in total here. One of the flats has a balcony , which forms a part of a flat roof to a flat below. The balcony is the only one the whole house and it's only accessible to the flat owner. Recently there has been a leak from the balcony to the flat below caused by wear and tear of the fault asphalt covering on the balcony as well as dropped plant pot.The claim has been rejected by the insurer due to wear and tear damage as opposed to accident. The owner of the flat that the balcony belongs to feels that all of the leaseholders should pay for the repair. The owner of the flat insists that the balcony is clearly marked on their floor plan. However there is no mention in my lease about an existence of any balcony in the house. I have raised a query to see the aforesaid flat owners floor plan as well as the lease. Would anybody be able to give any advice on this subject please ?

    #2
    If there are six of you, it is a company that will need to own the freehold.

    I don't see how it is possible to answer your main question without the exact wording of the lease.

    Comment


      #3
      You should be able to obtain a copy of the 'flat owner's' lease and an official copy of title from the Land Registry. You might also want to make enquiries with the Local Authority's planning department to see if the balcony was included in original plans or if it was added since. In the case of the latter, was planning permission applied for and granted?

      The leases will specify how service charges are split between the six flats.

      At this stage it appears you need to gather and check factual information before determining next steps.


      Comment


        #4
        'Clearly marked on their floorplan'?

        Then why isn't he paying up?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by JK0 View Post
          'Clearly marked on their floorplan'?

          Then why isn't he paying up?
          The lease may say the landlord repairs the exterior.

          Comment


            #6
            Hi all. Thank you for all responses. I am yet to see my neighbours floorplan of the building as well as the lease. The owner of the flat with balcony has forced the idea that it's a part of the roof therefore structural part of the house which is our joint responsibility. The crucial part of the investigation of the subject was completely omitted until now.
            I have checked for planning permissions and there are none for the balcony so it might be that it was done in the original conversion however there is no mention of it in my lease as being part of my responsibility.
            This is a quiet tense situation as half of the owners actually are happy to pay for it without questioning . I'm personally convinced that the responsibility should lay with the owner of the flat and maybe we should have put in place a deed of variation to the lease where it can be clearly specified whose responsibility the balcony is?

            Comment


              #7
              All the leases should set out details of what the freeholder is required to repair and maintain and also what he may include within the service charge expenditure.

              You should possess a copy of all the leases in order to carry out your duties properly. You should refer to the lease of the leaseholder concerned and it should specify what he is responsible for repairing and maintaining.

              If the issue is inadequately dealt with, you may well need a Deed of Variation and you may need some form of compromise on this occasion. As a suggestion, you may consider that internal parts of the balcony should be maintained by the leaseholder and external parts of the balcony and the roof should be maintained by the freeholder.

              Comment


                #8
                Hi there. I now had a sight of my neighbours floorplan and the lease. The lease of the balcony flat also does not mention the balcony at all. So we have all leases that do specify our responsibilities of maintaining common parts and the roof but no mention of a balcony. We all had a meeting yesterday and I discuss the subject thoroughly to a great upset of my neighbour (the owner of the balcony flat) , who outrightly refused to accept that she herself should be paying for re-tiling of the surface of the balcony. To other leseas strongly agree with me but since there now is a leak from the balcony to the flat below and the owner of the balcony flat is being very difficult, they all agreed to pay. I feel that I now will have to contribute as well, purely because of the damage that the balcony leak causes to the flat below. I am not happy about this situation at all really.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I also own a balcony flat. The lease is silent on the repair of it. 2 different management companies, both with reputable RICS managers, deemed it to be collective responsibility to maintain as being part of repairing the exterior of the building.

                  In practice, I maintain it myself to help keep the good relationship within the block. But if major repairs were required, I'd be more inclined to demand my 'rights'- particularly if the other owners were being stroppy.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thank you for your input.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As ALL leases are silent on the balcony then it is likely the responsibility of the freeholder which means payment for repairs etc. will be recoverable as service charges (split as defined in the 6 leases).

                      However, as the balcony is not demised to the flat concerned arguably they have no right to use it. It will be for the freeholder to consider whether they want to prevent the leaseholder using the balcony OR include the balcony in the demise of the flat concerned. In the case of the latter the freeholder will be able to agree a premium for the balcony as this adds value to the property. The leaseholder would also need to pay their own and landlord's legal (for Deed to include the balcony) and surveyor's fees (valuation etc.). This may also present an opportunity to agree terms in relation to future repairs and other terms to mitigate problems with leaks arising if the current leak was caused by using the balcony.

                      I would suggest first exploring the legal position by contacting LEASE and depending upon their view moving forward as required. Definitely a situation that will require professional/legal advice and consultation with the leaseholder concerned.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I think you mentioned the old girl dropped a flower pot causing the damage, didn't you?

                        Maybe the freehold company should contact her contents insurers for reimbursement?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by vmart View Post
                          As ALL leases are silent on the balcony then it is likely the responsibility of the freeholder which means payment for repairs etc. will be recoverable as service charges (split as defined in the 6 leases).
                          That does not necessarily follow. Leases vary on how they are structured. The first port of call always has to be the repairing obligations. They may tie into what the lease says about what is included in the demise. It is not always the case that the tenant has to repair what is demised to him.

                          Originally posted by vmart View Post
                          However, as the balcony is not demised to the flat concerned arguably they have no right to use it. It will be for the freeholder to consider whether they want to prevent the leaseholder using the balcony OR include the balcony in the demise of the flat concerned. In the case of the latter the freeholder will be able to agree a premium for the balcony as this adds value to the property. The leaseholder would also need to pay their own and landlord's legal (for Deed to include the balcony) and surveyor's fees (valuation etc.). This may also present an opportunity to agree terms in relation to future repairs and other terms to mitigate problems with leaks arising if the current leak was caused by using the balcony.
                          The fact that the balcony is not expressly included in the demise does not mean it is not included. It may be included by operation of section 62 of the Law of Property Act 1925. See this thread: https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...-in-the-lease=

                          Originally posted by vmart View Post
                          I would suggest first exploring the legal position by contacting LEASE and depending upon their view moving forward as required. Definitely a situation that will require professional/legal advice and consultation with the leaseholder concerned.
                          LEASE will not be able to help without seeing the lease. We may be able to help if the relevant parts of the lease are quoted.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thank you for the very helpful response. We had a meeting now and I saw all documentation relating to the balcony fat. On the floor plan the balcony is marked as a private part for the flat. The lease of the balcony balcony flat does not mention the balcony anywhere. We had a long discussion and the conclusion was that the majority of freeholders ( four out of six) do not agree that we all should be financing the repairs. However, the leak is now affecting the flat below and the owner of the balcony is simply aggressive. She was complacently refusing to finance the works and leave the leak to worsen as well as threatening that she will make it difficult for any other works take place, when needed. We have now all paid and the work is done.
                            I have made it very clear that in my opinion this is not correct but its done now.
                            Thank you all for your responses. I have found it all very helpful.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You need to be absolutely sure that it is the leaseholder's responsibility before doing the following, but if it is a leaseholder responsibility, they are almost certainly in breach of a covenant to keep in good repair so as to protect the other parts of the block. I'd be surprised if there weren't a covenant with similar effect.

                              In that case, you could, in principle go to the FTT for a ruling that there is such a breach, and start forfeiture proceedings, which would be likely to rather rapidly result in money being forthcoming from the leaseholder, or their lender.

                              Comment

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