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roof convert to roof garden


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Hello everyone,

I live in a ground floor flat and the property is share of freehold with 2 other.  Recently, I notice the duplex apartment's owner have convert the flat roof into a roof garden.  He fixed decking on it.  Now, he told us that the access to the roof is linking, and ask us to contribute to the repair cost.

The lease we have is an old one, which hasn't updated.  As it is old, the roof back than wasn't a roof garden.  The previous owner created an access to the roof (which hasn't got planning permission).  The new owner bought the duplex apartment then apply the permission to the council.  

The questions I am seeking for your help are:

1. Since the use of the roof now has change, and they have done fixing without notice any other freeholders, should other still contribute to repair and maintenance cost of the roof?

2. The roof only accessible from the duplex apartment, which I don't think it should count as 'communal area', am I wrong?

3. Should I call for a new lease to set up? Or is it not worth to do so?

4. I am concern of the building insurance.  What is the definition of a roof garden and a roof? 

Please advice me 

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The answers to all your questions lie in what is written in the lease - just because it is old does not mean that it is not valid.  Do you all have the same leases?  Is this a purpose block of flats or a conversion?

Look at your lease - if it mentions the roof as 'common parts' then the other owner does not have the right to build on it and it should state that in the lease.  It sounds like this duplex owner is in breach of the lease.  Refuse to pay for any works until he removes his decking from freeholder property.  You need to get together with the other freeholder on this.

Try to negotiate this one as bringing a court case could be costly but on the other hand this owner will not be able sell while this breach continues.


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I would have some serious concerns if I owned the lower flat such as:

1. Does any of the works done need planing permission or building regs?

2. The roofing  material on the flat roof was likely to not be suitable for walking on.

3. Has the insurance company been informed because if there is a failure and a leak occurs they wont need much of excuse not to pay out.

3. I think you need profession advice to protect yourself here and you could have problems if you choose to sell in the future. 


As Mortitia states it all boils down to whats in the lease but most/a lot of leases define the roof as a shared cost for repairs but you now have someone up and down on that roof doing all sorts. I bet they are having BBQ's which doesnt mix well with roofing felt.

This can be the downside to individuals owning the freehold as they start treating it like a detached house without any concern or consideration  of the other owners. 

I have a flat where the owner below decided to knock a window out and put in patio doors without consulting the other freeholders. We have no idea if it was done to a good standard.  


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Thank-you both of you for your kind advice.  

According to the owner from the basement,  the previous owner added the roof decking some time before the new owner purchased the upper duplex; the lease has not update at time of the works or subsequently. The upper duplex owner said the correct permissions are in place for the decking and the roof area is demised to him, as per the lease document. 

I wonder is it worth to update the lease?  Because it just not fair where an area is demised to sole owner but other have to contribute for repair and maintenance. 


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Go on-line and pay for a copy of the lease for flat in question I think it costs about 15 quid. Then take it with a copy of your own lease to a solicitor who specialises  is leasehold law not your average high st solicitor for a proffessional opinion. You would then at least know where you stand and what options are open to you.


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This is a complex subject and you need professional legal advice.

Without seeing the lease &/or the exact details it's not going to be possible for you to get a definitive answer to your questions on this or any other forum.

Take note of the previous posts and follow their suggestions.

Good luck.

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