Balcony repairs - lease issue

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    Balcony repairs - lease issue

    Hi, new poster here, legal ignoramus. We live on the middle floor of a three story building (i.e. the British first floor), freehold jointly held as individual leases by all owners equally and managed by a residents' committee who employ estate managers. We and the flat above have balconies which are cantilevered extensions of the internal concrete floor/ceiling plates and extend between two adjacent flats on each floor, i.e. the balcony is a continuous concrete slab which connects four flats inside and out, two neighbouring below, two neighbouring above. The ground floor flat below us has our balcony as an external 'ceiling' which overshadows their access to the common garden. The lease for our flat states that we are responsible "for repairs to the balcony or balconies" and that we are responsible for internal ceilings and flooring.

    There is a repair issue with all of the balconies. The flat below has been told by the estate managers that they as flat owners are responsible for the repairs to the underside of the balcony, i.e. the extension to their ceiling, while we are responsible for repairs to the upper surface (the extension of our floor) and the underside of the balcony on the flat above us (the extension of our ceiling). Conversely (maybe...), the wording of the lease implies we are responsible for the whole balcony, i.e. upper and lower surfaces, and none of the balcony to the floor above. The fact that the balconies are concrete slabs which are extensions of the internal floors and ceilings seems to me to complicate matters (it's not said in the lease if the floors/ceilings are "severed medially"). Just to add a little more spice, five years ago the estate managers unilaterally replaced all the balustrades to the balconies as part of the general service charge which all leaseholders pay, whether they have balconies or not.

    I have no desire to cause a ruckus with neighbours, but I really do want to know exactly what we're liable for.

    It is going to depend on the exact wording of the lease (definitions of things like "building" and so on). There is no external rule.


      It should be a certain proportion of the total cost, surely? I don't see how you can apportion different amounts to different flats.
      To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


        Can 'ceiling' apply to something outside the property? Seems a bit of stretch to me. Suggest you post the relevant part of the lease.


          It sounds to me that the Estate Managers are wrong. From what you say, the balcony is exactly that, a balcony, it might be an extension of the downstairs ceiling but at the moment it passes through the wall it becomes your balcony. And, from what you say, you are responsible for its repair.

          What is the nature of the repair?


            It is not really possible to answer your question without knowing exactly what your lease says, please quote in full:

            The "parcels" that is the part which describes what is included and (possibly) excluded.
            The tenant's repairing obligations
            The landlord's repairing obligations

            Any relevant definitions


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