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Who is responsible for fixing the roof in a terraced house?


Who is responsible for fixing the roof in a terraced house?

If you let out a terraced house, there may come a time when the roof requires some attention. This could be due to misplaced tiles causing a leak, or could be a matter for pest control if mice have taken up residence in the loft.

Most terraced properties are freehold. However, even semi and fully detached properties can be leasehold, so this type of tenure also applies to some terraced houses as well as flats.

If the property does happen to be leasehold, then consulting the lease should be the first step. Within this document, it should be made clear who is responsible for what. For example, the lessee – the property’s landlord or owner-occupier – may be responsible for up to the inside of the roof, while the lessor – the owner of the freehold and land – may have to arrange and fund repairs to the outer roof.

The majority of terraced properties are freehold, so in this case it’s a question of boundaries. This can be complicated by the fact in England or Wales, there is not usually any record of the exact boundaries between dwellings, nor is there any real clarity regarding who owns any dividing fences, hedges or walls.

Even title plans, available from the Land Registry, tend not to show precise legal boundaries. If the roof above a terraced property requires repair, then perhaps it’s better to focus on damage limitation rather than who should fund the fixing of it. After all, if water or mice damage the interior, that could prove a lot costlier than a simple roof repair.

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