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Flying Freehold

These are most commonly found in old cottages which, though freehold, have an area of one property which overhangs the next-door cottage or a joint passageway. They can also occur underground where a cellar area may extend beneath adjacent property – sometimes totally unknown and unrecorded – and they occasionally arise from a conversion scheme.

The majority of flying freeholds will have existed for years and give no trouble, so much so that owners genuinely forget their existence. Many flying freeholds are impossible to spot unless the neighbour owns a substantial room where the measurements on one floor obviously differ significantly from the others.

Occasionally this type of overlap may also arise in houses which are actually leasehold so to call them a ‘flying freehold’ would be incorrect while the necessary covenants should be part and parcel of the lease.

If aware that a flying freehold exists estate agents have to decide whether to mention the point in the sales particulars – drawing attention to a relatively minor legal aspect of title may imply it is a potential problem which is rarely the case and no different from any other encumbrance on the title.

Accordingly, if we believe the arrangements relating to a flying freehold are trouble-free, we will not normally even mention it. If the arrangement is in any way unusual, or there is a specific agreement with the neighbour, we will refer to the existence of the flying freehold and suggest that, if concerned, you ask your solicitor to check it out.

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