How to get a flying freehold mortgage

Some mortgages are relatively straightforward in principle and practice; others take a little more trouble to understand and secure.

A flying freehold mortgage occupies that latter category – so let’s take a closer look at some of the issues that might be involved.


What is a flying freehold?

Property law is notorious for its elusive terms and definitions – and the words flying freehold seem to fit that bill pretty well. On the one hand, common usage determines a straightforward explanation. Yet, the term and the very existence of a flying freehold can raise a red flag for many a solicitor or conveyancer.

The “flying” part of the freehold refers to the fact that the owner has freehold rights to part of a property but not to other parts of the buildings or the ground beneath it.

Scratch just below the surface of what is otherwise a fairly simple concept, and you might appreciate how complicated the issues become – as these examples of flying freeholds identified by Express Conveyancing suggest:

  • one of the rooms in your property is built above a shared archway, alley, or passage;
  • your balcony projects over another owner’s land;
  • your property abuts an adjoining property that it relies on for support (because the buildings are on a steep hill, for example);
  • the building is multi-storey, but the layout of the rooms in adjoining properties makes it impossible to form a clear vertical division between the two – similarly, a maisonette or a house where a room or rooms are built below or above another freehold dwelling; or
  • a cellar or basement extends below your neighbour’s property.

While there can be many variations on these themes, the principle of a flying freehold holds good – part of the property you own is above, overhangs, or sits underneath someone else’s building or land.


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Is it difficult to get a mortgage on a flying freehold?

The principle of a flying freehold might be straightforward, but it typically throws up issues and problems when trying to track down flying freehold mortgage lenders.

It’s not that it becomes impossible to secure a mortgage for a flying freehold property, but the challenge lies in finding your way around the various rules and differences in policies pursued by various lenders. Although some might give the prospect of lending on a flying freehold a flat rejection, most lenders will at least entertain your application – and consider it on a case-by-case basis.

When making that assessment, some lenders might look at the proportion of the “flying” freehold as a ratio of its total floor area. Other lenders might adopt more stringent tests.

Of course, the decision is the lender’s, and you will play your part by providing as much – honest – information as possible. To do that, you might want to enlist the help of a specialist flying freehold mortgage broker – such as ourselves here at NeedingAdvice.co.uk – before you travel too far down the road of spending tidy sums of money on building surveys, legal fees, and conveyancing costs.


What are the problems with flying freehold?

The problems and issues with flying freeholds all stem from the fact that the respective landowners and freeholders have very limited rights concerning the other’s property or land – unless there is an express agreement that sets out and resolves any such disputes in advance.

A case in point is the difficulty one owner might encounter in persuading the other owner to make essential repairs for the structural integrity of the whole property – on which both naturally depend. In the absence of an express agreement, neither party can force the other to make those repairs – even when there is risk of serious damage to one or both properties.

The problems might be further complicated because neither party has any clear right of access to make essential repairs to the property.

These are just some of the issues that make getting a mortgage for a flying freehold problematic – any lender would prefer a clean title to the property in question.


What else do I need to consider with a flying freehold?

Flying freeholding issues are sufficiently well recognised to have prompted the need for specialist building insurance.

While you would want to arrange building insurance in any case, this specialist – and typically affordable – form of flying freehold insurance provides indemnity against any losses you might incur as a direct result of your form of tenure.

That indemnity is likely to prove well worth your while – and may save you considerable expense if problems arise with your neighbours – but the insurance itself clearly does nothing to change your respective title deeds to the properties or even force a recalcitrant neighbour to allow essential repairs or access.


Next steps

Before you give your solicitor or conveyancer any doubts or reservations about the freehold tenure of a property you want to buy, you might want to seek the advice of a specialist flying freehold mortgage broker such as us here at NeedingAdvice.co.uk.

We can point you in the direction of those lenders likely to be comfortable with your application for a flying freehold mortgage – and save you the wasted time and effort in receiving a rejection that is only likely to cause further problems and your credit rating with future mortgage applications.


FAQs- Flying Freehold Mortgages

What is a flying freehold mortgage?

Flying freehold mortgage term is used for describing the mortgage of a freehold property that overhangs or underlies another property. The mortgagee (or borrower) owns the property above the ground floor level, but not below it. This means that the mortgagee has no interest in the underlying structure or foundation of the property.

What should I look out for when buying a flying freehold property?

Flying freehold houses are usually bought as investment opportunities. If you buy an existing house, you will need to check that all relevant documents have been properly filled out and signed. You will also need to check that there aren’t any restrictions on what you can do with the land beneath the house. For example, if you own a house above a shop, you might need permission to demolish the shop to create extra space for parking. If you’re thinking of buying a flying Freestate house and want to understand what they are, make sure you contact us and we’ll put someone in touch with you. We’ll give you all the information you need to make your decision.


How to Get a Non-Standard Construction Mortgage?

’Non-standard’ construction includes many types of buildings including houses, apartment complexes, office buildings, hotels, etc. These structures are built using different materials and techniques than those traditionally used for construction. For example, ‘green’ construction refers to environmentally friendly construction practices.


Can you get a mortgage on a flying freehold?

Yes, you can get a mortgage on a flying freehold property. However, you will still need to apply for a standard construction loan from a bank or other lender. The reason for this is that most banks and other lenders require that you show them proof that the property is constructed according to their standards. This is called ‘conforming construction’. They won’t lend money on non-conforming construction.