flying freehold

What is a Flying Freehold in UK | All you need to know

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on flying freeholds in the United Kingdom. If you’ve ever come across the term “flying freehold” and wondered what it meant, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will delve into the concept of a flying freehold, providing a clear definition and equipping you with the knowledge you need to navigate the world of property law.

So, what is a flying freehold? In simple terms, a flying freehold refers to a situation where part of one freehold property overhangs or is beneath another property that is owned by a different person. It’s called “flying” because the unsupported part of the property can be seen as if it’s “flying” in mid-air, not connected to the ground.

Understanding what a flying freehold entails is crucial for both property buyers and owners. Whether you’re considering purchasing a property or currently managing one, it’s important to be aware of the legal implications, responsibilities, and potential advantages and disadvantages associated with a flying freehold.

Throughout this article, we will explore the intricacies of flying freeholds, clarifying any misconceptions and providing real-life examples to illustrate the concepts discussed. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of what a flying freehold is and how it can impact property ownership in the UK.

If you’re ready to uncover the world of flying freeholds, let’s get started with the basics. Read on to learn more about the definition and intricacies of a flying freehold.

Understanding Property Ownership: Freehold vs. Leasehold

Before we delve into the specifics of a flying freehold, it is essential to understand the distinction between freehold and leasehold ownership, as this forms the foundation for comprehending the concept of a flying freehold.

Property ownership in the United Kingdom can be classified into two main categories: freehold and leasehold. Let’s explore each of these ownership types to gain a better understanding:

Freehold Ownership

  • A freehold means you own both the property and the land it stands on outright.
  • As a freeholder, you have complete control over the property and the land, subject to legal restrictions and planning regulations.
  • You are not bound by lease agreements, and possession is indefinite.

Leasehold Ownership

  • Leasehold ownership grants you the right to occupy a property for a specific period, as stated in the lease agreement.
  • The land on which the property is built is typically owned by a freeholder or a landlord.
  • You, as the leaseholder, are required to pay ground rent, service charges, and other fees outlined in the lease agreement.
  • The lease agreement sets out rights and responsibilities between the leaseholder and the freeholder, including lease duration, maintenance obligations, and any restrictions.

Understanding the fundamental differences between freehold and leasehold ownership is crucial in comprehending the intricacies of a flying freehold. Let’s explore how a flying freehold fits into this overall framework.

What is a Flying Freehold

Freehold Ownership Leasehold Ownership
Complete ownership of property and land Right to occupy a property for a specific period
No lease agreements or ground rent Ground rent and service charges apply
No restrictions imposed by a landlord Subject to lease terms and restrictions

Explaining the Flying Freehold

In this section, we will provide a detailed explanation of what a flying freehold is and how it functions. Understanding this unique form of property ownership is crucial for those seeking to navigate the complexities of the UK property market.

What is a Flying Freehold?

A flying freehold is a term used to describe a situation where a part of one property extends over or under another property. It occurs when there is a lack of vertical alignment between two adjoining freehold properties. This can result in one property having a portion of its structure or land intruding onto the airspace or foundations of the neighboring property.

How Does a Flying Freehold Work?

To understand how a flying freehold works, let’s consider an example:

Property A Property B
Property A consists of a ground floor apartment, and its first-floor extends over Property B, which is a separate freehold property. Property B encompasses the ground floor and does not have any part extending over Property A.

In this scenario, the owner of Property A has a flying freehold as a part of their property (the first-floor) extends over the airspace of Property B. The owner of Property B does not have any part of their property extending over another property, making it a conventional freehold.

It’s important to note that a flying freehold can exist in various forms, such as when one property’s balcony extends over another property, or when two properties share a staircase or corridor that intrudes upon the other’s space.

Difference Between Flying Freehold and Conventional Freehold/Leasehold

Unlike conventional freehold or leasehold properties, a flying freehold can create unique challenges and legal considerations for both property owners. Unlike leasehold, where the property owner only possesses the rights to the interior space, a flying freehold involves the intrusion of one property onto the other, complicating matters related to maintenance, repairs, and responsibilities.

On the other hand, a conventional freehold owner has complete ownership and control over the land and property without any encroachments. The key difference is that a flying freehold owner has limited rights over the airspace or land belonging to another property.

In the next section, we will explore the legal implications of a flying freehold, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages it presents in terms of property ownership and management.

Legal Implications of a Flying Freehold

When it comes to owning a flying freehold, there are various legal implications that property owners need to consider. Understanding these implications is crucial to effectively manage the property and navigate any potential challenges that may arise.

Advantages of Flying Freehold

One of the key advantages of a flying freehold is the potential for increased space. This occurs when a part of the property extends over another property without directly touching the ground. Such arrangements can provide additional square footage, making flying freeholds attractive to homeowners seeking larger living areas.

Another advantage is the uniqueness of owning a flying freehold. These properties often exhibit distinctive architectural features, adding character and charm to the overall aesthetics. Additionally, for property developers, flying freeholds can present creative opportunities for unique design and development projects.

Disadvantages of Flying Freehold

While there are several advantages, there are also disadvantages associated with flying freeholds. One significant disadvantage is the potential for complicated maintenance responsibilities. When different parts of the property are owned by different individuals, coordinating repairs and maintenance can become challenging.

Furthermore, selling a property with a flying freehold can be more complex than selling a conventional property. The legal intricacies involved in transferring ownership can make the process lengthier and more complicated, potentially impacting the sale price and the overall ease of selling.

It’s important for property owners to carefully consider these advantages and disadvantages before purchasing or managing a flying freehold property. Consulting with legal professionals who specialize in property law can provide valuable insights and guidance to navigate the unique legal implications of flying freeholds.

Legal Implications of a Flying Freehold

Advantages of Flying Freehold Disadvantages of Flying Freehold
Increased space Complicated maintenance responsibilities
Unique architectural features Complexity in selling the property
Opportunities for creative design

The Ownership of Land Under a Flying Freehold

When it comes to a flying freehold, one of the common questions that arises is who owns the land beneath the property. The land ownership rights in a flying freehold can be quite distinctive compared to traditional property ownership arrangements.

Under a flying freehold, the ownership of the land beneath the property is typically divided between multiple owners, each having their own separate portion of the land. This division may occur in a variety of ways, depending on the specific property and legal agreements in place.

Typically, in a flying freehold, one property will be built or extended over and above another property. The upper property will have rights over the lower property, while the lower property will have rights and responsibilities over the land beneath it.

The exact division of land ownership can vary significantly and is dependent on the legal documentation and agreements in place. It is crucial to consult with legal professionals experienced in property law to fully understand the rights and responsibilities associated with a specific flying freehold arrangement.

To help illustrate the intricacies of land ownership under a flying freehold, here is an example:

Property Land Ownership
Upper Property Owns the airspace and any structurally supported part of the lower property.
Lower Property Owns the land directly beneath the property, subject to any rights held by the upper property.

Please note that the above table is a simplified representation and the actual division of land ownership may be more complex, depending on the specific flying freehold arrangement.

Considering the intricacies involved, it is essential for property owners to have a thorough understanding of the land ownership rights and responsibilities associated with a flying freehold. Consulting with legal experts ensures that all parties involved have a clear understanding and can make informed decisions regarding the property.

Flying Freehold Indemnity Insurance

When it comes to owning a property with a flying freehold, it’s crucial to consider the potential risks and liabilities that may arise. One way to protect yourself from these uncertainties is by obtaining flying freehold indemnity insurance. This type of insurance provides coverage against any issues that may arise due to the unique nature of a flying freehold property.

So, how does flying freehold indemnity insurance work? Essentially, it offers financial protection in case there are any legal disputes or unforeseen complications related to your flying freehold property. It ensures that you can navigate these challenges without bearing the full financial burden alone.

There are various factors that can influence the cost of flying freehold indemnity insurance, making it essential to obtain personalized quotes. Insurers typically consider elements such as the value of the property, its location, and any existing risks or issues related to the flying freehold.

It’s important to assess the level of coverage offered by different insurance providers. This will help you choose a policy that adequately protects your investment. The cost of flying freehold indemnity insurance can vary depending on the insurer and the specific circumstances of your property, so it’s best to shop around and compare quotes.

While flying freehold indemnity insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it can provide peace of mind and protect your financial interests. It ensures that you won’t be left vulnerable to unexpected expenses or legal complications that may arise from owning a property with a flying freehold.

Benefits of Flying Freehold Indemnity Insurance:

  • Financial protection against legal disputes and complications related to a flying freehold
  • Peace of mind knowing that you won’t bear the full financial burden alone
  • Assurance that you can navigate challenges and protect your investment

Considerations When Choosing a Policy:

  1. The level of coverage offered by different insurance providers
  2. The cost of the insurance policy
  3. Your property’s value, location, and any existing risks

By obtaining flying freehold indemnity insurance, you can safeguard your investment and enjoy greater peace of mind. It’s always advisable to consult with insurance professionals who specialize in this type of coverage to ensure that you select the policy that best suits your needs and circumstances.

Insurance Provider Policy Coverage Cost (per annum)
ABC Insurance Up to £500,000 coverage £350
XYZ Insurance Up to £1,000,000 coverage £450
DEF Insurance Up to £750,000 coverage £400

Contacting reputable insurance providers and comparing their policies will help you make an informed decision regarding flying freehold indemnity insurance. Remember, the cost of insurance is a small price to pay for the peace of mind and financial protection it provides.

flying freehold indemnity insurance

Examples of Flying Freeholds

To further enhance your understanding of flying freeholds, let’s explore some real-life examples that highlight how these unique property arrangements can manifest in different scenarios within property law. These examples will provide valuable insights into the practical applications of flying freeholds and help clarify any misconceptions that may exist.

Example 1: The quaint seaside cottage

Imagine a charming cottage nestled along a picturesque coastline. The property comprises two self-contained flats, with one situated directly above the other. In this case, the upper flat is a flying freehold, as it extends over a portion of the lower flat without having any physical support beneath it.

Example 2: The converted warehouse

In a bustling urban environment, a group of warehouse buildings gets transformed into trendy residential lofts. Here, some of the loft units may include flying freeholds, where parts of the upper-level lofts extend over the lower-level units without any physical connection. This configuration allows for unique design opportunities but also brings specific challenges in terms of maintenance and shared responsibilities.

Example 3: The terraced houses with shared access

In a row of terraced houses, flying freeholds can arise when neighboring properties share access passages or walkways that cut across the buildings. These shared areas, known as passageways or passages, may create flying freehold scenarios as they traverse over parts of the ground floor or lower levels of adjacent properties.

Common Misconceptions about Flying Freeholds

As with any complex concept, flying freeholds can often be surrounded by misconceptions and myths that can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. In this section, we aim to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about flying freeholds, providing clarity and accurate information for readers.

Misconception 1: Flying freeholds are illegal

Contrary to popular belief, flying freeholds are not illegal. While they may seem unusual and less common than conventional freehold or leasehold properties, they are a legitimate form of property ownership recognized under UK property law.

Misconception 2: Flying freeholds are unstable or risky

Another misconception is that flying freeholds are inherently unstable or pose a higher risk to property owners. In reality, the stability and risk associated with a flying freehold depend on various factors, such as the specific property and the agreements in place between the different parties involved. With proper legal and financial guidance, flying freeholds can be a secure and stable form of property ownership.

Misconception 3: Owners of flying freeholds have no control

Some people mistakenly believe that owners of properties with flying freeholds have no control over their circumstances or the neighboring property. However, this is not entirely true. While there may be certain restrictions and shared responsibilities, such as maintenance or access rights, owners of flying freeholds still retain a significant degree of control over their own property and can make decisions within the legal boundaries set forth by the relevant agreements and regulations.

Misconception 4: Flying freeholds always result in disputes

There is a common misconception that flying freeholds always lead to disputes and conflicts between neighbors. While disputes can occur in any type of property ownership, whether freehold, leasehold, or flying freehold, it does not mean that they are inevitable. Clear communication, mutual respect, and properly drafted agreements can help minimize the chances of disputes arising and ensure a harmonious coexistence between adjoining property owners with flying freeholds.

Now that we have debunked some of the common misconceptions about flying freeholds, you can have a clearer understanding of this unique form of property ownership. In the next section, we will provide real-life examples of flying freeholds to further illustrate their applications in property law.


In conclusion, this article has provided a comprehensive overview of what a flying freehold is and its implications in property law in the United Kingdom. By understanding the definition and intricacies of a flying freehold, individuals can make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing or managing such properties.

We explored the distinction between freehold and leasehold ownership, laying the foundation for a better understanding of flying freeholds. Additionally, we delved into the legal implications, advantages, and disadvantages associated with this unique form of property ownership.

Furthermore, we clarified the ownership of land and the need for flying freehold indemnity insurance to mitigate potential risks and liabilities. We provided real-life examples to illustrate how flying freeholds can manifest in different property scenarios.

By debunking common misconceptions and myths, we ensure readers have a clear and accurate understanding of flying freeholds. Armed with this knowledge, individuals can navigate the complexities of property ownership with confidence and make informed decisions that align with their unique circumstances in the United Kingdom.


What is a flying freehold?

A flying freehold is a unique property ownership arrangement where a part or parts of one property extends over or under another property. It occurs when a freehold property is built or extended in a way that overlaps or encroaches upon another freehold or leasehold property. This can create complex legal and practical implications for both properties involved.

Who owns the land under a flying freehold?

The land beneath a flying freehold is typically owned by a different property owner or entity. The owner of the flying freehold property holds the rights to the airspace or area above the land belonging to the adjacent property. It is important to consult the property deeds and legal documentation to ascertain the exact ownership and responsibilities regarding the land under a flying freehold.

How does a flying freehold work?

A flying freehold works by extending part of a property into or over another property. This could include parts of a room, staircase, or balcony, for example. The flying freeholder is granted rights and access to the area above or below the adjacent property, while the owner of the adjacent property retains ownership and rights to the land underneath the flying freehold.

What are the legal implications of a flying freehold?

Flying freeholds can have legal implications for both the flying freehold owner and the adjacent property owner. These can include restrictions on use or alterations, maintenance responsibilities, potential issues with access or rights of way, and shared costs for repairs or renovations. It is essential to seek professional legal advice when dealing with a property involving a flying freehold.

What are the advantages of a flying freehold?

One potential advantage of a flying freehold is that it allows for the creation of unique and interesting property configurations. It can also provide an opportunity to maximize space utilization and architectural design. However, it is important to carefully consider the legal and practical implications before entering into a flying freehold arrangement.

What are the disadvantages of a flying freehold?

The disadvantages of a flying freehold include potential complications with property ownership, maintenance, and access. Disputes may arise regarding responsibilities for repairs and renovations, or in cases where alterations or extensions are desired. It can also impact the marketability and resale value of the property due to the complexities associated with flying freehold arrangements.

How much is flying freehold indemnity insurance?

The cost of flying freehold indemnity insurance can vary depending on various factors such as the value of the property, the location, and the level of risk associated with the specific flying freehold arrangement. It is advisable to consult a specialist insurance provider to obtain a quote tailored to the specific circumstances of the flying freehold property.

Can you provide examples of flying freeholds?

Examples of flying freeholds can include situations where one property has a part of its structure, such as a room or balcony, extended over or under another property. For instance, an apartment balcony that extends over the roof of a neighboring building or a room within a property that protrudes into the airspace of another property.

What are common misconceptions about flying freeholds?

Common misconceptions about flying freeholds include the notion that they are illegal or invalid. However, flying freeholds are a legally recognized type of property ownership in the United Kingdom and can exist in various forms. It is important to seek professional legal advice to fully understand the implications and considerations related to flying freeholds.


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