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Flat-owners' duties

Each flat-owner generally has responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the parts of the building that they own.

This content applies to Scotland

Flat owner duties

The exact boundaries of ownership within the building can usually be found in its title deeds. Where the title deeds are silent or incomplete in this area, [1] the demarcation of ownership laid down by legislation [2] will apply. Under this legislation the boundaries of a flat are as follows:

  • Each flat extends to the middle point of any wall it shares with its neighbour. [3]

  • Horizontally joined flats extend to the middle point of the ceiling/floor that separates them. [4]

  • External walls are the property of the flats most closely adjacent to them. [5]

  • The roof is owned by the top floor flat beneath it. [6] Garden space is owned by the bottom flat most closely adjacent to it [7] (although this does not include any paths or steps used to access the building).

  • The foundations below the building are owned by the bottom flats. [8]

  • Doors and windows are owned exclusively by the flat that they mainly or wholly serve. [9]

The areas described above belong solely to one flat-owner and s/he will be completely responsible for making decisions about their maintenance and repair. S/he does, however, have some responsibility to other flat owners in the building and must ensure that s/he does not interfere with the support and shelter of their property. For more information, please see the section on support and shelter.

Further, if a part of the building is considered to be of fundamental importance to the building as a whole then it will be classed as scheme property, even if it belongs solely to one owner.

Scheme property should be jointly maintained by all the flat-owners in the building. This means that even though a part of the building, such as the roof, might belong to only one person, all the owners in the building might be allowed to vote as to whether it is repaired. They may also have to make a contribution to the cost of any such work. For more information, please see the section on scheme property.

Last updated: 10 February 2020


  • [1]

    s.1(1) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [2]

    s.2 and s.3 Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [3]

    s.2(1) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [4]

    s.2(1) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [5]

    s.2(1) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [6]

    s.2(3) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [7]

    s.3(3) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [8]

    s.2(6) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004

  • [9]

    s.2(2) Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004