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Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Barrister at Self Employed Barrister
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I 'own' a leasehold ground floor flat in which recently the floor started to

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Hi, I 'own' a leasehold ground floor flat in which recently the floor started to sank. A builder identified problems with joists which are between the cellar and the flat. the issue is easy to resolve by 'lifting up' the joists. I refereed it to the freeholder who insist it's my responsibility to repair it.
The lease states that the cellar belongs to the freeholder and that they are responsible to repair 'the main structure of the Building including the principal internal timbers'. the freeholder argues that the joists are not part of 'principal internal timbers'.
As a said comment the problems are coming from the cellar being constantly wet.
Kind regards,
I rather think that your freeholder is going to struggle with this position. Joists are normally considered to be fundamental structures for the purpose of supporting a building and go to the very heart of the property. They as such would fall with the domain of the freeholder (although a share would be apportioned to leaseholders). I would also have thought that this may well be something which falls within the building insurance in any event. I would make a claim to the building insurance and let them deal with the matter - otherwise you would need a surveyors report (this should be a joint report). Happy to discuss. Please remember to rate positively - thanks
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