Common parts definition

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Common parts definition

    My daughter lives in a converted flat, one of three in a Victorian house. The back garden is split into 3 and she has a designated section demised to her. The front garden is not demised or mentioned in her lease though the ground floor flat life tenant believes he “owns” it and has always maintained it as his own. We understand he was granted a life tenancy as his family sold the house to the freeholder to allow the conversion to flats. We don’t have access to any documentation however and are reliant on what he has told us.

    The new managing agent is now attempting to argue that the front garden is actually a common area and that they will maintain it and charge the leaseholders under the service charge provisions even if it has been happily dealt with by the ground floor tenant to everyone’s satisfaction.

    The obligations of the freeholder for maintenance and repair of common areas in my daughter’s lease cover “the main entrance the passages landing staircase and all glass and doors therein, and the dustbin meter areas and forecourt (if any)and the boundary walls and fences of the building”. There is no mention of the front garden anywhere.
    The leases of the top two flats permit the lessees to use the footpath from the road to the front door and the landings passages etc of the house, and the forecourt of the building (if any), including all appropriate means of access to the garden forming part of the demised premises (which is through a side gate to the rear of the house).

    The agent says they regard the front garden as the “forecourt” and therefore they are obliged to maintain it even if historically it has been treated by everyone including the freeholder as belonging to the ground floor tenant. Our argument is that there is no reference to the front garden in the lease and that had the intention been to create a communal front garden it would have been spelt out clearly and not used the term forecourt, and would have granted the lessees full use of the garden rather than just using it as an appropriate means of access to their own garden at the rear.

    Any views from legal experts? At the moment this is a point of principle with only a small service charge invoice issued for garden work, but if not resolved will result in considerable unnecessary expenditure in future.

    #2
    As a first step, you could obtain a copy of the lease for the g/f flat from the Land Registry assuming it is registered land.

    Comment


      #3
      I agree with vmart, the first thing that you need to do is to find out if the ground floor flat has a lease that mentions the front garden.

      If you have posted the exact wording from your lease, it may be that fact that it seems to differentiate between "garden" and "forecourt", and doesn't specifically say that the property has a forecourt, may help your argument.
      By the way, even if it is the case that the front garden is a 'common area' that the freeholder is responsible for maintaining, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have any rights to use the area.

      Comment


        #4
        What does it say in the service charge provisions of the lease? Is the freeholder entitled to charge your daughter for the cost of maintaining the front garden?

        Comment


          #5
          Buy the freehold title from HM Land Registry (three quid). If the front garden is not demised to anyone, it is indeed common parts. If it had been let to "a tenant for life" that is a registerable interest, and has been for at least 35 years so would show up on the title.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
            Buy the freehold title from HM Land Registry (three quid). If the front garden is not demised to anyone, it is indeed common parts. If it had been let to "a tenant for life" that is a registerable interest, and has been for at least 35 years so would show up on the title.
            Surely if the front garden hasn’t been demised to anyone it is only common parts if the lease stipulates that it is?Otherwise the freeholder owns it (subject to any rights it has granted over it) and is responsible for any costs and maintenance?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by eagle2 View Post
              What does it say in the service charge provisions of the lease? Is the freeholder entitled to charge your daughter for the cost of maintaining the front garden?
              They can only include it in the service charge if they have an obligation to maintain the garden. As the original post says, there is no reference to the garden in the lease obligations only to “forecourt, if any”.

              Comment


                #8
                The common parts are usually defined in the lease and they are usually any areas which are not comprised within the leases. Your daughter's lease should state the specific expenditure to which she is required to contribute, it is usually contained in a separate schedule, If the maintenance of the front garden is not included in that section, your daughter is not required to pay anything towards the cost.

                Comment


                  #9
                  i am not sure i agree. If the front garden is included within the freeholders title, it is possible that it is an amenity area without being specifically so mentioned.

                  Comment

                  Latest Activity

                  Collapse

                  Working...
                  X