A ‘flying freehold’ is deemed to have occurred when accommodation on the first floor qualifying as part of one freehold is situated directly above another freehold property offering ground floor accommodation. This unusual scenario means the owner of the first-floor accommodation does not own the land beneath their property. This would be owned by the person occupying the ground floor accommodation. The first-floor freeholder would therefore have ownership of a ‘flying freehold’. The term is used because their property is not at ground level and is therefore flying above the one below it.
Modern properties do not tend to exhibit such unusual circumstances. They tend to crop up more commonly in older properties where the original layout has been changed to provide a series of flats offered on a freehold basis. That layout could create the circumstances required to create a flying freehold.
This can create problems when buying a property that qualifies as a flying freehold or has such a property above it. Since problems with one of the two properties could reasonably create problems for the other, it is important to ensure the appropriate legal rights are in place to protect you in such circumstances.
If you are interested in buying a flying freehold property, you may well find the lender you seek to get a mortgage from will require you to take out indemnity insurance. This insurance would protect against any potential issues that could occur if the neighbour was unwilling to take on any necessary repairs to their property that might affect the state of your property. Always take proper legal advice before purchasing – or selling – a property with flying freehold status.