Flat roof or roof terrace not demised

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    Flat roof or roof terrace not demised

    Hello,
    I've been told I should repost my problem in this section to get the best help so here goes. We live in a Victorian conversion comprising a ground floor flat with a kitchen extension into the garden and a flat which comprises the upper floors. We bought the ground floor flat in the early 2000s at practically the same time as the neighbours bought the other flat. Our kitchen extension has a flat roof which up until fairly recently has not caused us any problems. In the last year we have started to have leaks through one side of the extension roof resulting in one wall getting wet and hairline cracks worsening on the external walls. We have discovered that there are paving stones which have been stuck to the felt of the roof at some time and that water is getting trapped under them and is finding its way down into our flat. Moreover the neighbour is using the 'roof terrace' as a storage place for all kinds of heavy stuff (a bit like an overflow for his flat). Builders have seen it and said that both the paving stones and the heavy items are damaging the flat roof and causing leaks. We are insisting that we get the flat roof repaired but unfortunately the neighbour is being very obstructive. We as the ground floor flat owners are in the unusual position of being both a leaseholder of our flat and the freeholder for the entire building, a fact which I presume should put us in a strong bargaining position although it doesn't feel that way at the moment. I have ascertained from the original lease for my neighbour's flat that the roof terrace is not demised to him although the door onto the roof terrace is shown and his lease states that he has " the right to use the flat roof over the lower flat for flower boxes but not to overload the same". Our lease obviously includes the kitchen extension and the freehold includes the garden. As far as I can see from the documents, the flat roof has never officially been structurally converted into a roof terrace. We desperately want to get the roof repaired and are willing to pay half the costs (or all if needs be) but I'd like to know how to proceed as the neighbour is not cooperating and even refuses to take most of the heavy things off the flat roof. Thanks in advance for any advice!

    #2
    The best solution with a neighbour is to try to have a reasonable chat and reach an amicable agreement otherwise your relationship is going to deteriorate. If that does not work, it would appear that your neighbour is in breach of the terms of the lease and you could write a formal letter asking him to remove the “heavy stuff” from the flat roof. How long have you been aware of the items on the roof and did you take any steps when you first noticed them? If he fails to remove them, you can inform him that you will remove them at his expense. You obviously need to repair the roof and it depends on the terms of the lease, who is responsible for the cost. If you intend to claim damages as a result of his breach of the lease, you would need to instruct a surveyor to issue a report confirming that he is responsible or partly responsible for the damage to the roof.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the advice. We are trying to reach an amicable solution but it is a bit like pulling teeth. When we bought the flat he just used the '''roof terrace" as somewhere to sit outside and a few pots. In the last year or so we have had the leaks and in seeing that he had started to use the roof to store rubbish and other heavy items we have told him on a number of occasions that the roof wasn't built for that reason and it was more than likely contributing to the damage we were suffering down below. With regards to the paving stones which are attached to the felt, we didn't realise they were there either and they trap water and definitely need to come off. I am hunk these were probably there when he moved in but I'm pretty sure that they shouldn't be as they add significant weight to the roof and affect the drainage. It is only since this problem has escalated that we have realised by looking at the leases and the freehold paperwork that his lease ends at the door of the roof terrace and as we are the sole freeholder we can probably get the work done from the garden without needing access to his flat. The problem is that he believes the roof terrace is his and he can do what he likes. At the moment he is allowing us to get builders in so that we can get quotes for the work. However I am very worried that he might refuse access and in other ways try to obstruct the work getting done. I suppose I would like to know how I stand legally in the event that access to his flat is denied and we have get the work done without him agreeing.

      Comment


        #4
        No-one said it was easy, sometimes you have to grind your teeth and think several times before speaking in order to try to reach an agreement with a neighbour, but that is the best solution.

        Perhaps you can mention that you have referred to the lease and invite him to do the same. If you have not done so, perhaps you can explain what you are doing and your reasons and generally keep him informed.

        If you fail to reach agreement, you need to decide whether or not you intend to take action over the breach of the lease. You may be able to claim damages if you can prove that the neighbour has placed heavy objects on the roof which have caused damage.

        You should check carefully the lease to see whether or not the leaseholder is responsible for any part of the cost of repairs. You should warn him in advance, if you are going to ask him for a contribution.

        You should put in writing any requirements to access the flat roof and ask him to remove any of his belongings.


        Do you need access to the other flat? If he attempts to obstruct the work, you would be able to claim damages from him. Presumably the contractors would support you but you should collect evidence, pictures etc

        Comment


          #5
          Once again thanks for the advice. The work could be done with access by ladders from our garden. Although it would be easier if the workmen had both options. We have a fair bit of photographic evidence of the overloading of the flat roof so that is useful as you say.

          Comment


            #6
            Hello

            How many flats in total in the building?
            Is there a management Company looking after the building?
            What does your lease say about your demised space EG any mention of the flat roof or airspace above?


            Comment


              #7
              There are just the two flats. We have the ground floor with garden and he has the upstairs flat which comprises the second and third floors of the Victorian terrace. When we moved in we bought the Leasehold for our flat and the freehold for the whole building. Unusually the garden is only on the freehold so we needed both. The neighbour who moved in a few months before us was offered the freehold but turned it down so he only has a leasehold for his flat. There is no management company for the building and we as the freeholder sort out the insurance for which the neighbour pays us 11/20ths 6 monthly. In the lease it states that we have to get any maintenance work done and then charge the other flat his share. With regards to demised space, his flat is lined in red ending before the roof terrace but it does show the door. The only mention of the flat roof is in his lease saying that he can use it for flowerpots but can't overload it. Obviously the kitchen extension is in my lease and the freehold plan includes the garden. There is no mention of the airspace above the flat roof.

              Comment

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