If during your search for a dream property, you discover the home you want to buy is a flying freehold, you might be worried about your mortgage options. Will a lender approve you for a loan on this type of property?
The answer is ‘yes,’ especially if you use the services of a mortgage broker such as ourselves, as we know which mortgage lenders offer mortgages for lying freeholds.
Keep reading to learn more about flying freehold mortgages and then get in touch with our team if you would like to discuss your mortgage options.
What is a flying freehold?
Don’t worry – this isn’t the type of property that is going to take off into the skies and leave you sitting around a dinner table with no roof over your head!
Flying freehold refers to a part of a property that hangs over or extends into any adjacent properties.
Examples of flying freeholds include:
- Houses with a balcony that hangs over a nearby property
- Multi-story buildings that don’t have a complete vertical division between rooms
- Semi-detached or terraced houses that have a room situated above a shared walkway
These are just a few examples but there are other cases where a property might have flying freehold status. Check with a conveyancing solicitor if you think this might apply to a property you are interested in.
What is the difference between a freehold and a leasehold?
When you’re buying a home in the UK, you can choose between a freehold property or a leasehold property. There are differences between the two, as we briefly discuss below, alternatively, read our fully comprehensive guide on Leasehold vs Freehold.
When you purchase a leasehold, you own the property for a set number of years but not the land on which the property has been built. The freeholder owns the land and you will usually have to pay them a service charge because of where your home is situated.
Leasehold properties are usually flats but it’s sometimes possible to get a house on a leasehold basis, especially when purchasing a property through a shared ownership scheme.
Depending on the terms of your agreement, your lease can last anywhere between 40 years and 999 years, so you don’t have to worry about losing your home in the short term.
If your home is a freehold, you own both the property and the land on which it has been built. Freehold properties are usually houses but it’s sometimes possible to find freehold flats and maisonettes on property listing sites.
With a freehold, you can live in it for an unlimited time, so there’s no need to vacate your property unless you decide to move home with a new or existing mortgage.
What are the potential issues with a flying freehold property?
Unfortunately, a number of issues might arise if part of your property hangs over or extends into your neighbour’s land. These include:
- Refused access – Rights of access to your neighbour’s property will be clearly laid out in the positive covenants, but your neighbour might still refuse you access to their land, even if you need to carry out repairs to the flying freehold part of your own property.
- Noise – Noise from one part of the property could affect the neighbouring property if the flying freehold element isn’t properly insulated.
- Legal battles – Property owners have the right to access neighbouring property under the Neighbouring Land Act 2002 to make repairs to their own home but not their neighbour’s property. If your neighbour refuses you access, even with mutually enforceable repairing covenants in place, you may need to take them to court.
- Water leaks – If water from the overlying property causes damage to the underlying property, in the case of a bathroom leak for example, a dispute with the neighbouring property owner could arise.
- Inadequate maintenance – You don’t always have a legal obligation to repair the ‘flying’ section of your property but if it damages the property or land purchased by the adjoining property owners, problems are likely to arise between you.
These are just a few of the issues that could arise if your property extends onto a neighbouring property. Specialist conveyancers can advise you further so speak to a solicitor for information on the legal responsibilities related to flying freehold ownership.
What is a flying freehold mortgage?
For those looking to secure a flying freehold mortgage, you’ll want to speak with an experienced broker who can guide you through the complex legal covenants. While not every lender offers this product, some are willing to evaluate applications on an individual basis for borrowers compliant with their criteria. To increase your chances of obtaining these funds, it’s crucial that you seek out and work closely with a knowledgeable professional in order to ensure success in acquiring the loan.
The team at YesCanDo Money know which lenders offer mortgages to homebuyers wanting to buy a property with a freehold element, so get in touch with us and we will give you all the help you need with your mortgage.
What issues may arise when applying for a flying freehold mortgage?
Before granting a mortgage, loan providers will carefully examine the title deeds of the proposed property to ascertain that all details regarding any “flying” component are accurately recorded.
Lenders typically ensure that the positive covenants which provide access rights to adjoining property are in place. Moreover, they verify if the flying freehold property is registered with the Land Registry for added security.
If there are issues with any of the above, you may be ruled out of a mortgage.
Examples of Lender Restrictions
The information below highlights some of the lenders that are willing to offer mortgages for flying freehold properties.
You will need to meet the lender flying freeholds criteria, which we also mention in brief below.
|Building Society||Eligibility Criteria|
|Nationwide Building Society||They may be willing to offer a mortgage if only part of the property is affected by a flying freehold element.|
|TSB||Before giving approval, they need solicitor confirmation that the title deeds cover the flying freehold element.|
|NatWest||There are no restrictions regarding the size of the flying freehold portion. However, they are only willing to offer a mortgage if they know it’s possible to enforce positive covenants. The maximum loan-to-value on a mortgage for this type of property is 90%.|
|Coventry Building Society||Properties that aren’t affected by more than 25% of the flying freehold portion are eligible.|
|Virgin Money||Properties that aren’t affected by more than 20% of the flying freehold portion are eligible.|
|Barclays||They are willing to offer a mortgage on older freehold properties that aren’t affected by more than 15% of the ‘flying’ portion provided mutually enforceable repairing covenants exist.|
|Mansfield Building Society||Properties that aren’t affected by more than 25% of the flying freehold portion are eligible.|
|Suffolk Building Society||Properties that aren’t affected by more than 25% of the flying freehold portion are eligible.|
|The West Brom Building Society||Properties that aren’t affected by more than 15% of the flying freehold portion are eligible.|
These are just some of the mortgage lenders willing to offer loans for a flying freehold property but get in touch with our team to explore all of your options.
What should I look out for when buying a flying freehold property?
It’s important to take the following into consideration before you buy a property with a flying freehold.
- Covenants: These should be in place to clarify access rights to the neighbouring property should you ever need to make future repairs. The covenants should also restrict your neighbour from making any alterations to their home that could affect the structural integrity of your own property.
- Legal options: The Neighbouring Land Act 2002 ensures your right to access land owned by an adjacent homeowner in order to assess and repair any damage done to your own property. If the other party denies entry, consider taking legal action against them. Before buying a new house, make sure you have consulted with a legal professional regarding all of the rights listed within the title deed so that there are no surprises further down the line.
- Indemnity insurance: Obtaining a flying freehold indemnity insurance is sometimes requested by certain lenders. This coverage can prove to be beneficial due to it potentially covering legal issues with your neighbour, as well as any inconsistencies between the property deeds and the actual status of the area. With flying freehold indemnity insurance, you may also receive compensation for such discrepancies if they arise.
What can I do if a property is affected by a flying freehold?
If you’re thinking of considering flying freehold properties you may wish to consider the following.
Convert the flying freehold to a leasehold
In this case, a single freehold can be established with a lease (999 years) given to the owner of an adjacent property along with relevant rights and positive covenants. Furthermore, these arrangements would remain intact regardless of if or when there is any transferral of either freehold or leasehold interests to different owners in future. However, it must be noted that converting from flying freehold to leasehold may come at significant expense and require copious amounts of time- thus professional legal advice should always precede such endeavours.
Take out Title Indemnity Insurance
Investing in insurance may cost a few hundred pounds initially (paid through monthly instalments or all at once) but the financial protection it provides if any legal issues arise with your neighbour is invaluable.
Agree to a new deed of covenant
An agreement of covenant that adjusts the title deeds of your property can be made between you and the nearby landowners. With this new understanding, all parties will recognize their responsibilities and rights to ensure no ambiguity in the future. By instituting a deed of covenant, you’ll guarantee everyone’s interests are secured for years to come.
The new agreement would only bind future owners if they agreed to it when buying the property.
Expert advice in flying freehold mortgages
If you are looking for a mortgage on your flying freehold property, look no further than our expert team. We can find the perfect lender and competitive deal that will save you money throughout the term of your loan! Contact us now to experience our professional advice and support firsthand.
For the easiest and most direct access to us, contact us via WhatsApp or call 033 0088 4407 during our opening hours to book a meeting. If you’d prefer not to make a phone call, fill out the form below; we’ll reply at your preferred time.
Is it possible to buy a flying freehold flat?
There aren't many flying freehold flats on the market as most of them are leaseholds. However, some do exist so it's worth enquiring with an estate agent before making a purchase.
Can a flying freehold impact the sale of my home?
Unfortunately yes, as with fewer lenders offering flying freehold mortgages, you may find there are fewer people willing to buy your home.
Some property buyers may also be put off if they are worried about possible disputes due to maintenance and if the adjoining property owner refuses access, although you and the buyer's conveyancing solicitor can help to answer any questions they may have about your property.
Are flying freehold properties a good investment?
Provided the appropriate covenants are in place, along with a good insurance policy, a flying freehold property or a property with a flying freehold element can be a good investment. But as with any property, you should take legal and mortgage advice before buying as there are a number of things you should take into consideration before making a decision.
Can you get a flying freehold mortgage on a flat?
Yes, there are a few lenders who offer these so get in touch with our team if you would like to know more.
Who owns the roof of a flying freehold property?
Ownership belongs to the upper property owner.
Who owns the land under a flying freehold?
You own the 'flying' portion on your property but the land it hangs over is owned by the other freeholder.
Is flying freehold a problem?
Not necessarily but issues may arise when the two freehold owners clash because of disputes over access and repairs.
Who is responsible for repairs on flying freehold?
This is a bit of a grey area, especially when the flying freehold affects an adjoining property, such as in the case of a leaky roof which may impact not just one property but two if it's overhanging. If you have a flying freehold property or flying freehold element on a property you aren't legally responsible to make repairs but you could consider it your moral duty if neighbouring properties are impacted.