Anyone who owns a tenement flat in Scotland lives in a building with common parts know as common property.
Common property is defined the parts of a property that everyone is required to look after.
We all know that our homes will regularly need repair and maintenance.
Good maintenance goes a long way to preventing costly repair work and these days Scottish councils have established powers to promote and enforce home maintenance.
But in properties with common areas, the most common question form owners is:
Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs when a number of people own parts of the property?
Common questions abut common repairs
If you live in a tenement, you are liable for maintenance and repair of the property’s common parts like the roof, the entrance or stairs, and the back green.
What exactly is he definition of a tenement?
A tenement has traditionally been thought of as a residential sandstone or granite building of three or four storeys, but it has a broader legal definition:
A tenement is a building comprising two or more related flats that are divided from one another horizontally. This means that large houses that have been converted into flats, high-rise blocks, four-in-a-block and modern apartment blocks are tenements. The definition also includes blocks of flats with commercial properties in them.
This includes ground-floor shops, and office buildings if they have two or more flats. Flats in commercial properties do not have to be residential, and that can be a maisonette, a flatted property on more than one floor
Under Scottish law, home owners have a clear and direct responsibility to actively maintain their property. So how do you find out what your responsibilities are? What it takes to fulfill them? And how to get all your neighbors to co-operate?
Responsibilities of tenement flat owners
Every owner is solely responsible for the upkeep of their own flat or house. However, owners whose title deeds say they have a right of common property will also share responsibility of all the parts of the tenement building or estate where there is a ‘common interest’.
Your title deeds usually tell you about your rights and responsibilities for your own flat and your shared responsibilities for the tenement.
In a tenement this will typically include parts such as the common stairs or lifts and parts that provide support and shelter for the building as a whole. This will include the external walls, gutters and normally the roof.
In an estate, green areas and access roads are typically common property too.
The conditions in your title deeds are not optional.
Known as real burdens, they go with the ownership of your flat.They are legal obligations and you cant ‘opt-out’ of. When you bought your flat, you accepted the conditions, and they will remain with the flat when you sell it.
Real burdens are put in the title deeds to control the use of the flats in the tenement, for example of your deeds may restrict or ban business use oe state that pets (dogs) must be on kept on a lead.
They are designed to ensure that the owners maintain or contribute to the maintenance of the common parts.
When maintenance and repairs are needed, where owners decide not to participate or cooperate, your fellow owners are able to enforce this responsibility.
How do I get a copy of my deeds of conditions?
You can ask the solicitor who did the conveyancing when you bought your flat, and in addition if have a mortgage, your mortgage lender will have a copy.
NOTE: Your solicitor or lender may charge a fee for a copy of your title deeds.
What do you think?
We trust that this short guide to common repairs in Scotland has been useful. if you have enjoyed what you have read please do like and +1. It just takes a moment and we do appreciate it.
Walker Sanford it proud to serve Glasgow residents with our Property Factoring Services. We are available to answer your questions about both your property maintenance issues and our property management services so do leave a comment below.