Repairs in communal areas
If you own your home, you and your neighbours are responsible for communal areas. A property factor can do maintenance and repairs for you. To make decisions about repairs in communal areas, use your title deeds or the tenement management scheme.
What communal areas are
These are the shared parts of the building that are outwith your home’s boundaries. They are sometimes called common areas or common parts.
Common areas can be:
stairs, the stairwell and lifts
the close, entrances and fire escapes
paths and gardens
Common parts can be:
the roof, gutters and downpipes
external walls and foundations
Responsibilities if you own your home
You and other homeowners are usually responsible for communal areas.
If anyone causes damage to a communal area, they must pay for the repairs.
You can hire a property factor to organise repairs and maintenance for you.
Using a property factor
We have guidance on using a property factor.
If you are unsure if your property is already factored, check the Property Factor Register.
If you bought your home through Right to Buy
The council or housing association may be responsible for communal areas. They can also be the property factor.
It should say who's responsible in your title deeds. If not, ask the council or your housing association.
If you do not know who is responsible for repairs
Check your title deeds to work out who is responsible. In some cases, only some owners are responsible.
Title deeds are legal documents that say:
what parts of the building you own
what communal areas you're responsible for
who else is responsible for repairs and maintenance
Read our guidance on title deeds if you're unsure or do not know where they are.
If your title deeds do not say who is responsible
Use the tenement management scheme to make decisions with your neighbours about communal areas.
The tenement management scheme is legislation that tells you what areas and parts you and your neighbours must maintain.
We have guidance on using the tenement management scheme.
Forcing the council to do repairs
If the council owns the majority of the flats in the building and will not do repairs make an official complaint.
Paying for repairs
You may be responsible for paying for a share of communal repairs.
Forcing a neighbour to pay for repairs
To resolve a dispute, you can use alternative dispute resolution. This is usually a cheaper, faster and more informal way to resolve housing problems without going to court.
If you need to go to court to force someone to pay their share, a solicitor can give you legal advice and help you apply.
Sometimes the council can help when a neighbour does not pay their share. They can issue a maintenance order, and pay for part of the repairs. This is only when a neighbour genuinely cannot pay, be identified or be found.
Last updated: 29 June 2022