Selling your home with a flying freehold

Last updated: December 2020 | 2 min read

Are you selling your home with a flying freehold and worried about how that may impact your home's sale? Here is what you need to be aware of.

What is a flying freehold?

Flying freeholds is a legal term which refers to a freehold property which has a part lying under or over a part of another neighbouring property.  Some common examples of flying freeholds include:

  • A balcony overhanging your neighbour's property.
  • A basement or a cellar that lies underneath your neighbour's property.
  • Houses where a part of the home is situated under or over another property.
  • Terraced houses were the dividing line between the two neighbouring properties is not straight down the middle from top to bottom.
  • Part of a bedroom overhangs an alleyway running between you and your neighbour's home.

The basic concept of flying freeholds is that a part of your home must overhang or lie beneath your neighbour's property.

Does having flying freehold make your home less saleable?

While many people who own flying freeholds do not come across any problem at all during the time they own it. Generally, flying freeholds do not pose a problem when selling your home.

What are the issues from your buyer's perspective?

  • Disputes with the neighbour - There could be disputes between the buyer and the neighbour. While you may have gotten off wonderfully with your neighbours, your buyer could be worried about having to coordinate with a stranger.
  • Refusal of access – If the buyer would want to carry out some repairs for which he would need to access the neighbour's property, the neighbour could refuse entry.
  • Mortgage – Some lenders do not lend against properties which have a flying freehold. In contrast, others may lend but subject to other conditions. Therefore, it can prove challenging for your buyer to come by a flying freehold mortgage. This is the most significant risk for your sale falling through.

It would help if you brought the flying leasehold to the attention of your prospective buyer early in the process. This way, your prospective buyer can do necessary checks before he commits. If the situation can be dealt with early, it will decrease the chances of your sale falling through later on.

What are the solutions?

Most mortgage lenders will ask that an indemnity insurance policy is taken out as a condition to lend against the flying freehold.

A flying freehold indemnity insurance will protect you and the future owners if they ever run into any problems with their neighbours relating to the flying freehold; it will cover both loss and expense.

By dealing with these issues, the buyer, his or her conveyancer, and their mortgage lender should be satisfied that there is no risk in investing in your home.

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