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I have a dispute regarding the replacement of a lock on an external door in my leasehold property. (England, United Kingdom)

There are four flats in the converted period property, two maisonettes (having their own private entrances), and two flats which share an entrance which leads to a hallway and stairs to their respective flat entrances.

We each own a share of freehold and subsequently each have our own leases. My title plan does not include the afore mentioned shared door - I have my own entrance to my flat.

I have been requested to share the cost of a replacement lock for the shared door. I don't have a key, nor am I able to use the door.

The lease states:

  1. Maintaining and keeping in good and substantial repair and condition:-

...

iii. the common entrances passages landing and staircases of the Property

My query is this.

What constitutes the common parts of the property?

Should these costs be shared amongst all owners, or only those who have access to it. Similarly, should the stairs need replacing in this area, is everyone again liable to share these costs or only those with access to them?

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All common areas are common areas even if some people can’t access them

Typically. It is possible to create titles within titles that have different levels of common property, but this is usually only done for large developments - dozens to hundreds of dwellings incorporating more than one building. And not all of them use this route - the administrative overhead is often too great. For example, in a multi-building development where only some have elevators because these have relatively high maintenance costs, it might be worthwhile.

The simplicity of having everyone pitch in in their prescribed proportions is considered better than the small inequities that this causes from time to time. It also stops the inevitable: “but I never use the garden/helipad/lift/foyer to those units.”

You are liable for your proportion of the lock repair even though you never use it. Similarly, you would be liable for repairs to the foyer behind that door. This would have been one of the factors the surveyor considered in deciding the proportion of common area costs your flat would bear.

If it helps, you can remember that while some common property is for the joint use of the residents, some, like your neighbour’s foyer, is for the use of the public - which includes you. When you visit them to complain about the price of the lock, you’ll be using that lock.

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  • I appreciate the time taken to answer, albeit it's not that one I was hoping for! This makes sense and gives me some direction going forward.
    – John
    Jan 11, 2023 at 12:35

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