Understanding leasehold contract...responsibility for external walls

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    Understanding leasehold contract...responsibility for external walls

    I own a flat in what was a conversion from a terrace house - it was split into two flats, mine upstairs and the other downstairs.

    The freehold is jointly held between me and the other flat owners.

    I'm trying to pin down how exactly the responsibility is shared for maintaining the external walls. I'd thought that we were jointly responsible for the lot - but having just spent some time struggling through the wording of my lease, I think that in fact we're each responsible for the portion that encloses our flat. Below is what I think are the relevant parts of the lease. I'd be really grateful if anyone could confirm that I've understood it correctly.

    *****
    1. In pursuance of the said agreement....the Lessor HEREBY DEMISES unto the lessee ALL THAT FLAT (herein after called “the Flat”) shown on Plan A annexed hereto and thereon edged red...which forms the first floor and second floor of the building (including the roof of the building and the structure thereof and the floors of the first floor of the building but excluding the ceilings of the flat below but including the internal and external walls of the Flat above the same level...

    2. AND the lessee HEREBY COVENANTS with the Lessor in manner following that is to say:-
    (v) From time to time … well and substantially to repair uphold support cleanse maintain drain amend and keep the premises hereby demised... and all party and other walls fences roof footings joists sewers drains...with all necessary reparations cleansings and amendments whatsoever
    (vi)...pay and contribute a rateable or due proportion of the expenses of making repairing maintaining supporting rebuilding and cleansing...party walls party structures chimney stacks … belonging to or used or capable of being used by the Lessee in common with the Lessor or the tenants or occupiers of the said Flat below...such proportion in the case of dispute to be settled by the Surveyor

    PROVIDED ALWAYS that:-
    (1) All fences... and the walls dividing the the Flat hereby demised from the adjoining property and the joists or other the support for the floor of the said Flat below shall be deemed to be party fences walls and joists to be maintained and repaired (a) as to fences and walls at the joint expense of the Lessee and the tenants and occupiers or owners for the time being of the adjoining property thereby separated and (b) as to the joists at the joint expense of the Lessee and the tenants and occupiers or owners for the time being of the adjoining property thereby

    *****


    What I take from this is:
    (a) the external walls, above the level of the floor that separates the two flats, are part of my demise
    (b) I as the 'lessor' am obliged to repair and maintain those external walls, because they are part of my demise
    (c) there are certain parts (such as the chimney stack) that we are jointly responsible for, but the only walls that we are jointly responsible for are "party walls" and that doesn't include external walls because they don't divide the two flats.

    Have I got that about right?


    #2
    I agree with your reading, although I would have thought such arrangements would have been of concern to lenders.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
      I agree with your reading, although I would have thought such arrangements would have been of concern to lenders.
      Not something that my mortgage provider brought up. Why particularly would it be of concern?

      Comment


        #4
        Because they are relying on the ground floor flat owner to keep the first floor flat in the air. I believe they tend to prefer that the freeholder have the responsibility for this.

        Comment


          #5
          We own the freehold jointly ... as it is, if the lower flat weren't doing maintenance properly then I'd have to try and get them to do stuff by pointing out their obligation do to so under their lease.

          I'm not sure what would be different in practice, if it was the freeholder's responsibility, because if they didn't want to do it we'd be in the same position with me trying to get them to do it by pointing out that it was our joint responsibility as freeholders.

          Comment


            #6
            As has already been confirmed, it seems each flat is responsible for "including the internal and external walls"
            This is not the norm, but the lease says what it says.

            Best to come to an agreement that both of you keep an eye on the brick work, and when, if required, when it needs re-pointing, replacement of "blown" bricks etc, you half the costs, and while scaffolding is up there, the security of the gutters is inspected, and secured, and detritus cleared from same.
            Stating it is in both your interests to maintain the outside, preferably all in one go,and you each pay half the costs ( in advance ).

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ram View Post
              As has already been confirmed, it seems each flat is responsible for "including the internal and external walls"
              This is not the norm, but the lease says what it says.

              Best to come to an agreement that both of you keep an eye on the brick work, and when, if required, when it needs re-pointing, replacement of "blown" bricks etc, you half the costs, and while scaffolding is up there, the security of the gutters is inspected, and secured, and detritus cleared from same.
              Stating it is in both your interests to maintain the outside, preferably all in one go,and you each pay half the costs ( in advance ).
              Yes, that is ideally how I would like to do it, and have made the argument for that, but unfortunately the other owners say they can not afford to contribute at this stage. They are the second set of owners who I've not managed to come to an arrangement with.

              The problem with making agreements about this stuff is that they don't necessarily transfer to any subsequent owners (unless, I assume, they are somehow formalised by changing the leases).

              It was initially my worry that if I went ahead and did my 'half', with an agreement that the other owners did their half when they can afford it, then that flat was sold on, the new owners could ask me for a contribution to that cost. That would be the case if our leases stated we have joint liability for the brickwork - but as it turns out, we don't.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by blocks View Post
                That would be the case if our leases stated we have joint liability for the brickwork - but as it turns out, we don't.

                If any brick work ( external ) is not done by the flat that is responsibe for that, then the other leaseholder may take the other to court for not observing the lease.

                see pic enclosed ( below typed )


                ABIL2PAY.JPG

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