Buying a Flat Above a Shop

publication date: Nov 21, 2011
 | 
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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Buy a Flat Above Shop


Escape Means


We regularly answer consumer property questions for FREE via our Property Forum.

Here's a taste of one of the many property questions we have recently answered:-


Q - We are looking to possibly buy a flat above a shop in a terrace of shops/flats. The freeholder owns the shop and has built out into the back yard area, a long way, about 20 feet. He has installed roof lights which rise as high as the 1st floor flat's rear window cills and the roof is sloping. Is it legal for flat not to have any rear access/means of escape, and should he have built as high as the cills?  SEE THE FULL QUESTION HERE


A - There are quite a few issues with buying above a shop and a lack of escape is likely to be a major issue.

You need to talk to the local planning office ideally prior to making an offer and find out exactly what permission was given. Take some pictures of the rear of the property etc and ask for a meet with the planning office to check things like the exit etc.

Alternatively if you make an offer and it's accepted it's your legal company's responsibility and your own to get an independent survey from a local surveyor that will answer these questions for you (local rules and regulations can be different across different local authorities).  FULL ANSWER CONTINUED HERE!

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