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When it comes to flying freehold, what does it mean?

Flying freehold is a unique and somewhat uncommon real estate concept that can present opportunities and challenges for property owners. Often associated with historic or unconventional properties, flying freehold can raise questions and considerations for both buyers and sellers. In this article, we’ll delve into the definition of flying freehold, its implications, legal considerations, and potential impacts on property transactions.

Understanding Flying Freehold:

Flying freehold refers to a situation where a part of one property (such as a room or portion of a building) extends over or under another property owned by a different individual or entity. In other words, it involves a physical part of one property “flying” or extending into the airspace of another property, which is typically owned separately.

Implications of Flying Freehold:

  1. Rights and Obligations: Owners of flying freehold properties may have rights and obligations concerning the maintenance, repair, and use of the airspace and the portion of the property that extends over or under another property. Clear agreements and provisions are essential to clarify these rights and obligations and avoid disputes between property owners.
  2. Risk of Encroachment: Flying freehold properties risk encroachment or interference from neighboring properties, mainly if there is uncertainty or disagreement about property boundaries or airspace rights. Property owners may need to address issues related to encroachment through legal means, such as boundary disputes or easement agreements.
  3. Limitations on Use and Development: Flying freehold properties may be subject to limitations on use and development, mainly if there are restrictions or regulations governing the airspace or adjoining properties. Owners may need to obtain permissions or approvals for alterations, renovations, or additions that affect the flying freehold portion of the property.
  4. Impact on Property Value: Flying freehold properties may have unique characteristics or limitations that can affect their marketability and value. Potential buyers may be cautious or hesitant to purchase flying freehold properties due to concerns about legal or practical issues associated with airspace rights and neighboring properties.

Legal Considerations:

  1. Title Deeds and Property Boundaries: Reviewing title deeds, property surveys, and boundary plans is essential to determine the extent of the flying freehold and clarify property boundaries, rights, and responsibilities. Property owners should ensure their title deeds accurately reflect the flying freehold arrangement and any associated agreements or restrictions.
  2. Airspace Rights and Easements: Understanding airspace rights and potential easements affecting the flying freehold is critical for property owners to protect their interests and avoid conflicts with neighboring properties. Property owners may need to negotiate or formalize easement agreements to address shared airspace and rights of access.
  3. Covenants and Restrictions: Property covenants and regulations may impact flying freehold properties and restrict certain activities or developments. Property owners should be aware of any applicable covenants or restrictions that may affect their ability to use or alter the flying freehold portion of the property.
  4. Insurance and Liability: Property owners should consider insurance coverage and liability protection for flying freehold properties, including coverage for potential risks such as damage, accidents, or disputes with neighboring property owners. Consulting with insurance professionals can help property owners assess their insurance needs and mitigate risks effectively.

Potential Impacts on Property Transactions:

  1. Due Diligence: Buyers and sellers of flying freehold properties should conduct thorough due diligence to assess the legal, financial, and practical implications. This may involve reviewing legal documents, conducting property surveys, and consulting with legal and real estate professionals to identify potential risks and issues.
  2. Negotiation and Agreements: Buyers and sellers may need to negotiate and formalize agreements addressing rights, responsibilities, and potential disputes related to the flying freehold arrangement. Transparent contracts and provisions can mitigate risks and uncertainties for both parties and facilitate a smoother transaction process.
  3. Disclosure Requirements: Sellers of flying freehold properties may have disclosure obligations to potential buyers regarding the flying freehold arrangement and any associated risks or limitations. Full disclosure of relevant information ensures transparency and fairness in property transactions.
  4. Financing and Insurance: Buyers of flying freehold properties may encounter challenges obtaining financing or insurance due to the unique characteristics and risks associated with flying freehold arrangements. Buyers should explore financing options and insurance coverage tailored to flying freehold properties and consult with lenders and insurance providers to address concerns.

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