Q. I have seen a beautiful house to purchase but have just been informed by my agent it has a ‘Flying Freehold’, I have never heard of such a thing. Can you explain exactly what this is and if it will have any serious impact on me as a buyer?
A. Flying freehold is an English legal term used to describe a freehold which overhangs or underlies another freehold. Common cases include a room situated above a shared passageway in a semi-detached house, or a balcony which extends over a neighbouring property. Flying freeholds are a grey area as far as the law is concerned and some, not all lenders may have an issue with lending you money to buy a property of this type. It often doesn’t have to be an issue at all, as long as you maintain friendly relations with your new neighbours in case of any future problems. And much can depend on whether your lender is happy about such a freehold: if they are, then all well and good, but if not, then they’ll probably ask for a very common type of cover known as ‘flying freehold indemnity insurance’. This is often easily provided by large insurers and shouldn’t cost more than a couple of hundred pounds, which you could ask the seller to contribute towards; this will protect you from having to pay out if any neighbourly difficulties escalate into an expensive dispute. However – and this is where it can get problematic – some solicitors or lenders aren’t satisfied with indemnities, especially where the flying freehold looks like a major issue. You may run into demands for documents such as a deed of access specifically allowing access in case of emergency that must be agreed by all sides. Flying Freeholds exist everywhere and are bought and sold extensively and successfully. My best advice is to ask your solicitor to look into this for you right at the onset to find out if this will or is likely to impact you in a detrimental way and of course if you are a cash buyer then you automatically don’t have the issue that someone using a lender might have of not being able to obtain the funds to purchase this type of property.