Communal items

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You or your landlord will pay a service charge to Revolution or a company like Revolution. This is to cover the cost of running the building such as lighting, cleaning, etc. It will also cover something to do with your apartment, but this is where things become contentious as it doesn’t cover everything.

Pipework

A communal item is one which serves two or more people. So, the pipework in your apartment can only serve you and as such is not communal. But what is the pipe outside your apartment? The building will have a mains water supply where your apartment supply branches off and that is where you become responsible. 

Electrical supply and wiring

This is very much the same as pipework. Once the cable leaves the electric meter (wherever that is) is when you become responsible. If you are a landlord and rent your apartment out, you should have the wiring checked every 5 years. 

Window frames glass and doors

These items, whilst they only serve your apartment, could be communal. The reason for this is that these will be defined in the section of a lease called “demised”. This tells you what in the flat you are responsible for. Some leases make you responsible for the window frames. This doesn’t mean you can rip them out. It simply means you have to pay the repair or replacement costs. If you ever have a cracked or smashed window, check who is responsible for its replacement. 

Mailboxes

These are not communal unless they are all replaced at the same time. If you lose a key or someone damages your box you have to pay the repair costs. No one shares your mailbox and so it’s not communal. 

Front doors

Same rules as window frames apply. Front doors have to be 60 minute fire safe doors. We have seen many leaseholders have their front doors damaged and then replace them with non-matching non-compliant doors. They then have to replace them all over again at their cost! Always check with your managing agent if your front door is damaged. 

Washing machines, cookers, etc

These are not communal and all yours to replace and repair. 

Damage caused by a water leak

This is an interesting one. If you leak into another apartment (say your bath overflows) this is a civil matter between you and the apartment you have damaged. If the leak results in an insurance claim, then the building policy will cover the costs but you would have to pay the excess. 

Understanding what is communal and what’s not is very important and the best yardstick is if it only supplies you then usually it’s not but always check or refer to your lease or managing agent for further guidance.