Updated: February 24, 2022

Flying Freehold Mortgages

Considering buying a house with a flying freehold but unsure of the mortgage implications? You can still get one! Find out what you need to do next in our guide!

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 24, 2022

Unlike freehold properties, which generally own the property directly above them, flying freehold properties have an element of the property either overhanging or underlying another property. Finding out that your dream home is a flying freehold is not the disaster that many people think, however, and it’s perfectly possible to find a lender who will consider this type of home.

Throughout this article we’ll explain how to go about sourcing finance for a flying freehold property, what the potential pitfalls are, and the legal implications of ownership.

What is a flying freehold mortgage?

Simply put, it’s a mortgage product that can be used to purchase a flying freehold property. Whilst there are lenders who will flatly refuse to lend on this type of home due to the often complex legal covenants, finding the right mortgage is perfectly achievable with the right advice and support.

A flying freehold property can be found in a number of scenarios, however, they each share one common factor; a section of the property falls under the freehold ownership of a connecting property.

This is usually, but not always a first floor room which sits above or overhangs a section of the building you share with a neighbouring property, or that they own entirely. The flying freehold section can also underlie the neighbouring freehold property.

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Why would you need this type of mortgage?

There are a wide range of situations where a flying freehold exists, and you would therefore need a suitable mortgage to accommodate this; these include, but are not limited to the following examples:

  • A room in the home is above a shared passageway, garage(s), or similar shared building
  • The home has a balcony which extends out over a neighbouring property(ies)
  • The home has a basement or cellar that sits below neighbouring property(ies)
  • If the dividing line between adjacent terraced or semi-detached properties isn’t central from top to bottom
  • If the home has a ground floor room that sits below a section of the neighbouring property’s first floor
  • If the home is a maisonette, part of the property may be above or below another freehold property, although this is less common

How many lenders offer mortgages for this property type?

The majority of lenders will consider lending for a flying freehold purchase, however, there are often additional criteria to meet, which vary from lender to lender. Freehold flats and maisonettes are fairly rare, but do exist, and can be more difficult to secure a mortgage for.

As flying freehold properties have considerable legal factors to consider, they are less straightforward than standard freehold or leasehold properties, and mortgage lenders will often consider applications on a case-by-case basis. A common criteria, however, is that most lenders will only consider properties where the freehold makes up 20% or less of the total gross floor area, although this percentage can vary across the market.

Lender restrictions

The below table provides an idea of which lenders will consider a flying freehold mortgage, and the restrictions in each case:

Lender Flying Freehold Criteria
TSB No maximum, subject to solicitors confirmation property title deeds cover flying freehold element
Nationwide Building Society Maximum 99% freehold element
Natwest No Maximum, subject to solicitors confirmation property title deeds contain positive covenants, solicitor confirmation of marketability and 90% maximum LTV
Coventry Building Society Maximum 25% freehold element
Virgin Money Maximum 20% freehold element
Barclays Maximum 15% freehold element on older properties. Up to15 sq m over a vehicular access for modern properties.
The West Brom Building Society Maximum 15% freehold element

How a mortgage broker can help you

A broker who is experienced in sourcing lenders for flying freehold properties is invaluable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the specialist brokers that we work with have access to all of those lenders who are willing to consider offering finance for flying freehold properties, and can help to to secure the agreement you need, at a competitive rate.

They can also save you time, money, and potential disappointment, by matching the lender to your circumstances. Their knowledge of this type of property allows them to identify and highlight any potential stumbling blocks that could occur, and help you to navigate them.

Flying freehold mortgage applications can be complex, to say the least. There are lots of legal aspects, and getting the associated paperwork right is critical. Brokers with experience in this area can help to lighten the paperwork burden, by ensuring the forms are error free, therefore preventing delays.

Get in touch with our helpful team today via our enquiry form and we will connect you to one of the many expert flying freehold mortgage advisors we work with.

Things to consider

Flying freeholds can be more legally problematic than other property types, and whilst issues are rare, conveyancers will be extremely thorough when assessing the property deeds. If they find a cause for concern, this can impact the lenders’ decision, so it’s very important to ensure that the conveyancing solicitor you hire is experienced in this area.

Covenants

The issues that could potentially arise surround the covenants attached to the flying freehold deeds. For example, there may be concern that future disagreements with the neighbouring freeholder could result in complex legal issues. One example of this might be that a freeholder refuses access to their property to carry out an inspection or repairs.

In 2011 the Law Commission suggested that legislation surrounding legal covenants attached to flying freehold deeds should be simplified and updated, although this has been discussed, the government is yet to finalise any plans.

Legal options

Under the Neighbouring Land Act 2002, property owners can access neighbouring property to carry out repairs to their own property, but not their neighbour’s property. This can result in a dilemma if the state of the neighbouring property affects your ability to adequately repair your own.

It’s possible to create a new deed of covenant between two freehold owners, that can provide them with equal rights and obligations, however, this would unfortunately not automatically transfer to new owners, should one of the parties sell their property. The new owner would therefore also need to agree, for this agreement to be upheld after sale. This process can be long and expensive, however, it does offer an immediate resolution in some circumstances.

It may also be possible to convert a flying freehold to a leasehold property, however, this option is also time consuming, expensive, and can have additional tax implications. It’s important that you seek advice from a specialist conveyancing solicitor to discuss your options.

Indemnity insurance

Most lenders will expect you to arrange flying freehold indemnity insurance as a condition of their mortgage approval. Your broker and conveyancing solicitor will be able to direct you to specialist insurance providers that offer this form of cover.

From a personal perspective, indemnity insurance is equally essential, as it can provide compensation if the flying freehold status has been omitted from the deeds to the property, or help you to finance legal battles with neighbouring freeholders, in the rare circumstances that they arise.

It’s important to bear in mind that your policy could be invalidated, should you carry out any structural renovations, so be sure to read the terms carefully.

Speak to an expert on flying freehold mortgages

If you’ve set your heart on a property that has a flying freehold element, don’t let the potential complexities discourage you, contact us here at Online Money Advisor, and we’ll find you an expert broker, with plenty of experience helping customers just like you.

We offer a free broker-matching service that will quickly assess your needs, circumstances and the property type to match you with a broker who has the knowledge and experience you need. This will be an advisor who specialises in flying freehold properties and has a strong track record helping customers just like you secure a mortgage on them.

Call us today on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry online and we’ll match you with your ideal mortgage broker today.

FAQs

How can flying freehold impact the sale of my home?

Lender availability may be reduced if a large percentage of your property is deemed to be flying freehold, which can reduce the potential for interested buyers to purchase your home. An experienced broker can advise you about this based on your specific property.

A flying freehold that is unclear with regards to maintenance responsibilities can also be a deterrent, as buyers may be concerned about the potential for future disputes. The buyer’s conveyancing solicitor should be looking to clarify this type of uncertainty, however, so as long as you are responsive, this is not necessarily a road block.

How much does indemnity insurance cost?

A good flying freehold indemnity policy can usually be obtained for a few hundred pounds. This is a one-off payment, so you won’t have annual renewal payments to consider.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different Property Types. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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