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If you own a flat in a tenement, you usually have a responsibility to help keep 'common areas' in good condition.

Although you may think of a three of four storey granite building when you hear the word 'tenement', a tenement is actually any building with two or more flats on top of each other. This means houses that have been converted into flats, high-rise blocks and modern apartment blocks are all tenements too.

Common areas are any part of your tenement which can be jointly owned by everyone and should be maintained by all owners.

Common areas may include:

  • stairs and the common close
  • the entranceways
  • the roof
  • the fire escape
  • the ground the block is built on
  • any private parking areas
  • any lifts in the building
  • gutters and down pipes
  • the foundations
  • the external walls
  • any wall, beam or column that's load-bearing

If you're renting the property, you aren't responsible for the condition of common areas. Either your landlord or a 'property factor' (someone they've hired to keep up with maintenance work) is responsible.

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