Conveyancing Solicitors sometimes encounter what are know as "cross-over" leases of maisonette properties, and Fridaysmove North Shields Conveyancer Dawn Thomas discovered this situation when acting for the purchase of a first-floor maisonette in North Shields NE29.
Maisonettes are typically two purpose-built flats, one above the other, each self-contained with their own street door. Each owner will be responsible for repairing their own part of the building, but will want to make sure that the owner of the other maisonette carries out any essential repairs to that owner's part of the building. For example the owner of the ground-floor will want to make sure that the roof belonging to the upper maisonette is repaired, otherwise water might soak through to the lower property. Of course, each owner of will also want to be able to recover a share of any such repair costs from the other owner.
To enable these mutual obligations to be enforced, Conveyancing Solicitors arrange for each maisonette to be owned on a long lease, usually 999 years, and each owner also owns the freehold of the other property. Each owner is therefore the landlord of the other owner, so can enforce the obligations in the lease of that property. Freehold and leasehold titles are separately registered at the land registry, but in the case of these cross-over leases, provisions are usually in place to ensure that one title cannot be transferred without the other.
Sales details for this property were received from the sellers agents Reeds Rains office at 2 Northumberland Place, North Shields NE30 1QP showed that the price was in the region of £126k. Local Conveyancing Solicitors Bittermann & Wood of 45-48 Howard Street North Shields NE30 1AJ were acting for the sellers, and sent Dawn the draft contract with a copy of the land registry title and the lease. Dawn commissioned local searches with North Tyneside council, and also requested further information from the Solicitors. In particular she wanted to check that the lease of the other maisonette was in identical form, and that there were no disputes with the owners of the other property.
A difficulty with these maisonettes can arise if there is a fire or some other major damage is caused to the building affecting both properties. Imagine the situation where the owner of the upper property could not re-build because the owner of the lower maisonette was uninsured. The leases will require each owner to take out their own buildings insurance, but one owner may not have insured, or the insurers will find some reason not to pay out on a claim. Although the cross-over lease arrangement technically enables one party to sue the other, this may be of little help if that person has no money.
Consequently, Conveyancing Solicitors acting for buyers will usually recommend that indemnity insurance is taken out to guard against this risk. A one-off premium is paid, which is usually quite modest, and if the worst should happen then the insurers will cover any loss. Your Conveyancing Solicitor will give you full details if such a policy is required. In this case Dawn was able to persuade the sellers to pay the premium.
For your quote for Conveyancing in North Shields phone 0330 650 0286.