Who owns the front lawn of our flat block?
Question: I own a ground-floor flat that is part of a house conversion. The other property is the first-floor flat. Both the owner from upstairs and I share the freehold. I am trying to establish who legally owns the front garden, which has been converted into off-street parking.
I have obtained Land Registry title plans for each property, showing the respective property highlighted in red on each title plan, but neither of them has the front garden highlighted in red. How can I establish legally once and for all which of the flats is entitled to ownership of the front garden?
Answer: Presumably you each have a leasehold interest in your respective flats and you have obtained official copies of the register and title plan for each flat.
From what you say, the front garden is not included in the leasehold titles and so it may be part of the freehold title. If the freehold title is registered, obtain an office copy of the register of title and a title plan. If it is unregistered, you need to find and look at the title deeds. You may wish to ask your solicitor.
If the front garden is included in the freehold title and owned by both of you, it is likely that the leases for the flats will include rights to use the front garden for parking. Consider the terms of the leases carefully and any restrictions and obligations associated with any parking rights.
If the front garden is not included in the freehold title, carry out a search of the index map at the Land Registry. If the land is registered, you will be able to establish ownership. If it isn't, then establishing ownership is more tricky and you may wish to instruct a solicitor to help you.
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Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (www.thrings.com).
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.