Tyneside flats, what are they? They are a property development scheme in Tyneside. The main difference in these to other flats is the responsibilities laid out in the lease. A Tyneside flat appears from the front as a single fronted terraced house. However, there are two or sometimes three flats on top of each other. Each flat has its own separate front and back door and garden areas.
Construction of Tyneside flats started in the late 1800s as low-cost housing for a growing workforce. With separate floors and staircases, there is no relation between the lessees internally or externally. The backyard is divided in half. Originally each garden would have its own coal house and private outside toilets. It was an ingenious solution at the time for affordable housing. Now they make for profitable investments for landlords. The land was often sold on the condition that only properties with no more than two households could be built. Who enforces these rules now is unclear.
There are complications with the legal status of a Tyneside flat and the responsibilities between the landlords. The upper flat shelters the lower flat and the lower flat supports the upper flat. This has led in the past to specific legal schemes known as Tyneside flats cross or crossover lease arrangements. Under the Tyneside flat scheme, each tenant, even if holding the freehold of their own flat, becomes the landlord of the other. This allows the responsibility to be enforced without an external landlord or management company.
This type of flat ownership has come into context recently as part of the recent Law Commission leasehold reform. Another alternative to leasehold being commonhold which has also been considered. It is something to keep an eye on in the future as to what will happen.
The owner of a first floor flat will own both the leasehold title to their flat but also the freehold to the title, the ground floor will also have the same.
The property is typically a terraced house with two front doors usually side by side.
The above is not a typical scenario and is very difficult for people to manage a building.
In these situations, it may save time, effort and transparency for the two flat owners to hire independent third parties such as an accountant to do this. It is not absolutely necessary but it can solve a lot of disputes.
Alternatively, in the spirit of cooperation, the two flat owners may agree their own arrangements that suit their circumstances but this doesn’t necessarily apply to the lease requirements. If you then fall out it can be no end of a problem.
There are various ways of dealing with a dispute. There is mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution which can be pursued in preference to doing litigation which can be a very costly and time-consuming process. A common provision in the lease is for disputes to be finally decided by a jointly appointed administrator. In the absence of any such agreement an arbitrator can be appointed then it would normally be the president of the Law Society, the Institute of Chartered Accountants or the Royal Institute of Charted Accountant to decide.
The terms of the lease dictate the insurance arrangements. Previously there have been two methods.
The first-floor flat owner will insure the freehold interest of the ground floor as the landlord of the flat and vice versa. The lease may grant each flat owner the right to see proof of the current insurance policy. Or both owners may be required to insure the whole of the property in joint names and split the cost equally.
We now have a policy that covers this type of property, therefore, all the above is no longer required. Solicitors have in the past advised to take out a criss-cross lease indemnity that covers either party in the event of the absence of insurance. However, we now have the policy that you need. Speak to us about these properties and how to insure them.
It is always important when considering whether you wish to become a buy to let…