How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Michael Holly Your Own Question
Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 7049
Experience:  I have 20 years of experience as a solicitor in litigation and other areas
Type Your Law Question Here...
Michael Holly is online now

I part own a ground floor masionette flat with my brother.

Customer Question

I part own a ground floor masionette flat with my brother. The top flat is being sold and the new buyers are insisting on a lease variation so the lease explicit says the top flat owns the loft space. While I accept both flats have joint responsibility for the roof, I understood the loft space was not officially assigned to any particular flat, and the lease description around this in the lease was left grey, so it would could be tightened up at a later space should the top flat want to develop a roof conversion then a share of equity would be discussed and he lease varied to reflect whatever was agreed. The flats were both bought from the crown as the landlord ( a registered company) ceased to exist which meant leases issue were left quite loose when they were sold as freehold. The clause in the lease states: the upper maisonette comprises “one half part in depth of the concrete between the floors of the maisonette and the ceiling of the maisonette below it and the internal and external walls of the same level and the roof of the building together with the structure thereof so far as the same constitute the roof of the maisonette". It does'nt say the top flat have access or ownership rights - although it would be only viable for them to develop it, should they so choose. I'm concerned by signing this variation I will be agreeing in principle to hand over equity in the property for no gain, while still having 50% responsibility for the maintenance of the roof ( both flats have separate garden, I thought the loft and responsibility for the roof was shared hence the joint responsibility for maintenance. and the specifics of splitting equity of the loft would be addressed as and when a decision was taken to develop that space by the top owners. I can understand the new buyer wanting a variation before completing but i do not want to b pressured into a decision that could be to my detriment. can you please advise on how i should proceed, what your interpretation of the clause is? Thank you so much

PS - the flat is due to be sold (completion and exchange of contracts tomorrow) i havent been on top of this matter having just had my second baby 3 weeks ago and now I feel really pressured by the people selling above me. I dont want to delay the process but I do need to understand this before i sign anything. Thankyou

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 3 years ago.
The usual position with maisonettes is that the top floor is responsible for the roof and upper guttering. The lower floor is responsible for the drains.
The reason is as much due to common sense and access as anything else.
As such you are just being asked to sign something which is the accepted position. It would have helped had this been spelt out in the lease but these things sometime get missed.
Please stop worrying , you have far more important things to deal with!
I hope this helps if there are further points please reply.
Best wishes