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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10630
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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I own a long leasehold flat. I have two balconies

Customer Question

I own a long leasehold penthouse flat. I have two balconies / roof terraces (over the ceilings of lower flats - not protruding from walls of building). Both terraces are demised to me in the lease and red line Land registry papers. The management company have regularly failed in the maintenance requirements of the wooden balustrades on these items. They are now rotten and potentially unsafe. The management company are now claiming that the balustrades are my responsibilty for replacement and repair even though over the thirty plus years since building they have ingfrequently maintained them. What is your opinion on responsibility?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.
I am Al and am happy to assist you with your enquiry.
You need to refer to your Lease- as this will confirm what you are responsible for maintaining and what the Management COmpoany is responsible for.
Normally, the Management Company would be responsible for structural parts of the flat and any communal walls/ceilings. With balustrades, I'm afraid there is no set rule as to their responsibility and each Lease will be different.
If you would be happy to pay an additional £3 (by way of a bonus once I have answered you fully), I may be able to obtain a copy of your Lease, at a cost of £3, from the Land Registry website tomorrow, and have a look myself. Most Leases are stored electronically at the Land Registry to enable me to obtain a copy. I would need your address to do the search.
Alternatively, if you have the Lease to hand, please feel free to forward me a copy.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind Regards
Al
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There is nothing specific or in general in my lease regarding balustrades except that the mgt co are required to paint all external woodworks once every three years. They have not done this painting approx. 2 times in 13 years. Result rotted balustrades. Mgt co now argue balustrades form part of my demised exterior and hence my liability
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I do need to see your Lease to give you a full answer.All I can say without seeing the Lease is that if the Management Company are under a duty to paint the external woodwork and this failure has led to the balustrades becoming rotten, then they are indeed responsible for making good this damage by way of replacing them.Hope this helps.Kind RegardsAl
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Al , thanks for your response. It seems to me that the issue turns on what is absolutely "external woodwork" My balustrades are 100% external and exposed woodworks - but they fall on the "demised property line" of my flat. Are they therefore external or internal to my demise relative to maintenance and magt co responsibility? Interestingly, old papers I have found from my previous owner dated 1996 thru 1998, all show magt co acceptance of balustrade and balcony repair responsibility - so can a new management co and a new managing agent reverse this agreement or is it binding???
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Well, I would certainly say the balustrades is certainly "external woodwork" but although the Management Company would be responsible for any "external woodwork" on the building, the question is whether they are responsible for any external woodwork which is personal to a Tenant's apartment as opposed to any external woodwork on the Building.
I would prefer to see the Lease, but if the Manag Co have previously accepting liability for the balustrades, I wouldn't have thought they would have admited to this without taking legal advice and being advised accordingly.
Kind Regards
Al
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
All responses helpful so far. Just would like an opinion on my last line item. Mging agent wrote on behalf of magt board to previous owner that the mgt co would henceforth be responsible for all balcony work and maintenance (letter 1996) No lease changes or codicils were made - just that letter and since that time the mgt co have made repairs and painted (infrequently) No correspondence to say this has changed in any way until current mgt agents - responding to fact mgt co has little money or reserves now state all balcony issues are my responsibility due to balcony being on my demised premises. Can they arbitarilly reverse a previous position and historical actions and if they can what would they have to do to implement this? I also state that the letter of acceptance of responsibility also had a big impact on my buying decision