Shared Freehold Ground Floor Flat Garden Extension

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    Shared Freehold Ground Floor Flat Garden Extension

    Hi there,

    My partner and I are planning to build a 3.5m extension to the rear of our flat and are getting really confused about what processes we need to go through.

    To give you a bit of background, we own a share of the freehold and have sole use of the section of garden we would want to build on. The property is a Victorian conversion split into 4 flats (2 ground, 2 first floor).

    We have already had an architect draw up floor plans for the extension which we will now submit to planning permission.

    The below are what I am aware of/ believe that we need to do, but not sure what order to do these in or really how to go about them:

    - Inform other freeholders/ gain permission
    - Party wall agreement with other ground floor flat
    - Alteration to freehold/ leasehold agreement

    I know about building regulations, getting a structural engineer etc so the actual building side itself I believe I am ok with, it’s merely the freehold side that’s confused me.

    If anyone could give a quick step by step guide that would be amazing!


    Having sole use of the garden does not in any way mean you have a right to build an extension on it.

    There are a massive bunch of other things. Who/what is the freeholder - a company shared with the other flat(s)? What if someone else wanted to build on top of you? Who is supposed to insure it from now on? How much service charges will you pay? Everything would have to be agreed, and you will have to pay compensation to the freeholder for any uplift in value (most of which will go to the other freeholders and the rest to yourself as a shareholder).


      Hi there,

      Thanks for your response.

      Don’t worry, I know we need permission to build on the land.
      In answer to your questions:
      - The other freeholders are the owners of the other 3 flats (individuals not businesses).
      - We would insure the extension as it would be part of our property.
      - Service charges are split equally between the 4 flats and as the other ground floor flat has an extension to the rear (like we plan to do), I’m assuming is doing an extension wouldn’t affect it.
      - No someone couldn’t build on top as the extension would have a pitched roof and skylights in. Please note it wouldn’t pitch enough to contravene with the flat above’s ‘right to light’.
      - Why would we have to pay compensation to the other freeholders? Are you meaning as we are building on a garden owned by all parties? If so, is this a decision for the other freeholders rather than a steadfast definite of compensation being required? The previous occupant of our flat built a 2m conservatory to the rear and obtained permission retrospectively. I don’t plan on doing this but shows our other freeholders are reasonable.



        There can only be one freeholder. That is either a company, or a tenants in common trust. That will affect the process for making the decisions, and how many people need to agree.



          You really are creating a recipe for a muddle.

          It is pretty hard to insure part of a building. When it requires maintenance who is going to do that? - you will have a muddle of a building where part of the building that encloses your demise will not be FH's responsibility -- how on you going to write that into the lease? Why do you think service charge splits should not change?

          You are preventing the upper leaseholder from extending on to your roof - the fact that the garden is within your demise does not mean you can do that necessarily (let us suppose you were to build a three story extension in your garden).

          Generally when you make an extension that improves your property, part of the price uplift that is due to that extension is payable to the person who owns the building and garden (you do NOT own your garden -- or your flat -- you are leasing it from whatever entity is the freeholder. The fact that you are part of that freeholder is neither here nor there. They should be demanding compensation if they have a clue what they are doing. Yes the FH as a whole could give you permission to do it -- with no strings attached -- and allow the lease discrepancies to stand -- but they would be fools if they did so.

          You building into the garden is not fundamentally different to the top flat building a couple of extra levels up in the air above his flat....


            Regarding the Party Wall Act. You'll need to serve notice on all the 'owners' effected by any works that are deemed notifyable under the Act.

            As your property is part of block of flats - irregardless of how they became flats - then you may need to serve Notice on the Freeholder, the ground floor flat and the flat above yours. Perhaps the remaining flat too. You may even need to serve Notice on the neighbouring buildings. If these are are also converted into flats then that could be a lot of Notices. You need to show you plans to someone who knows the Act.
            There is always scope for misinterpretation.

            If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

            Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.


              AndrewDod is 100% right.
              ** One cannot have a 'Freehold Flat'. To quote the legal maxim a Freehold Flat is " never ever sever".
              ** Freehold (FH) by definition means "From the centre of the earth to the top of the sky" .



                To protect yourselves from unwittingly committing a Planning Law offence, do make sure your application is watertight by being lawfully 'valid' in the Certification part of the Application.

                Under the UK Planniing Act*, when you submit an application to your LPA (your Local Council's Planning Office) for planning permission :
                (i) You must complete a certificate B on the Planning Application showing that 21 days BEFORE applying for planning permission you have informed ALL the existing owners of the building 'in writing' - that is :
                1 .Every and all Leasehold owners in the building and 2. Including the freeholder of the property / building.

                To fail to do so will mean you will have filed an unlawful planning application.
                As the Planning Act, is a Government Act it is written into UK law* - If you fail to notify all existing owners with a current interest in the property (building) either knowingly or unwittingly it is an offence* that carries a two year sentence / up to a £5k fine.


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