As a managing agent, we often get requests to fix things inside flats. The confusion stems from the signage in communal corridors that states that Common Ground is the managing agent for the site and some mistakenly believe this extends to the interior of flats as well. This ranges from requests such as “please fix my broken washing machine” to the much less obvious issues such as water leaking out of a bathroom extractor fan.
So what’s my flat and what’s not? As ever, folks, it’s in the lease.
The lease defines the extent of the flat often referring to the flat as “the demise” or “the demised premises”. In short, this is your flat and defines those parts of the structure that you, the leaseholder, are responsible.
The lease will also define those parts of the building that the freeholder (or residents management company in the case of tri-partite leases) is responsible for maintaining.
As a general rule of thumb, a leaseholder is responsible for
- Everything on the leaseholder’s side of the flat front door
- Any services that are exclusively serving the flat (electricity, water, pipework).
Confusion often reigns with this second point with leaseholders arguing that these services pass through communal areas. Whilst this may be so, a communal facility is general something that benefits more than one person (or demise in the context of leases) and this is why renewal or repair of these facilities is usually the responsibility of the leaseholder.