Buying a Tyneside flat
What is a Tyneside Flat?
Tyneside flats are mostly common in the North East of England and have been present in the area since the 1860s. These types of flats are sometimes referred to as criss-cross flats or crossover flats, as well as Tyneside leases.
Tyneside flats can be sub-dived further into ‘North Tyneside’ and ‘South Tyneside’, both of which are reflective of the areas in which they reside and explained in more detail below.
What do I need to know if I am buying a Tyneside Flat?
North Tyneside flats are more common. Usually there are two flats within one building and they typically look like terraced houses with two front doors side by side. The door for the downstairs flat will lead directly to the downstairs flat and the door for the upstairs flat will lead to an entrance hall and staircase. There are no shared internal common areas.
Lease on a Tyneside flat
Anyone who owns a Tyneside flat will have a long Lease of the flat. If only one of the two flats in the building has been sold, then the original owner will be the landlord of the sold flat. When both flats have been sold by the original owner, then each flat owner becomes the landlord of the other flat. The leases of the two flats will mirror image each other so there are equivalent rights and duties for each flat owner. Since your neighbour will be your landlord and since you will be your neighbour’s landlord, you can each control (and in the same way because the leases are identical) what happens with your neighbour’s flat. This can be very important if you think about things like repairs, structural changes, insurance etc.
The relationship between both flat owners means you will be able to legally enforce covenants as you will have a legal interest in both flats. Failure to comply with covenants may also lead to legal action being taken by you or your neighbour.
If you are purchasing an upstairs Tyneside flat it is likely the Lease will state you are to own and maintain the roof and loft space and likewise the downstairs neighbour will own and be responsible for the foundations.
What is a peppercorn lease?
The ground rent for the flats are typically referred to as a ‘peppercorn’ within the Leases, this is a nominal value and essentially means there is no ground rent to pay.
In the event, you purchase a Tyneside Flat with a mortgage, the lender’s legal Charge will need to be registered on both the Leasehold and Freehold title numbers you will own.
South Tyneside flat
A South Tyneside Flat is similar to a North Tyneside flat in terms of the structure and layout. However, the legal responsibilities differ.
Usually the downstairs flat owner will have a Leasehold title, but they will not own the Freehold title of the upstairs flat, meaning they will not be the landlord of the upstairs’ flat owner. Usually the upstairs flat owner will own the Freehold title of the whole building making them the landlord of the other flat owner.
Please contact our experienced and approachable team who can provide you with full advice on a Tyneside flat set up during the course of the conveyancing. We have expert local knowledge on these matters which are unique to our part of the country. We find that clients who instruct a local firm when selling or buying a Tyneside flat experience a much smoother process as often solicitors out of our area do not understand the title set up.