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September 2010

Cross Lease Ownership

The risks in consenting to building extensions by other cross-lease owner

Many cross-lease titles include a covenant contained in the leases providing for exclusive use of parts of the land which are identified on the flats plan (the plan which depicts the buildings). Occasionally, unit owners wish to extend their unit within their exclusive use area, but in terms of the cross-lease they are obliged to first obtain the consent of the other unit owners.

In most circumstances we find that consent of other unit owners is forthcoming in the interests of being neighbourly.

However, a client of ours who had recently been requested to provide consent, took the precaution of first checking with the Council as to any implications which may arise as a result of the proposed extensions.
The client was informed that the extensions were of such a size that they enlarged the total allowable coverage and footprint of the land upon which all units were built to the extent that no further development would be allowed on the site.

In other words, our client and the other unit owners would be precluded by the Council from extending their own unit if in future they wished to do so.
Therefore, if you own a unit in a cross-lease development, think carefully before consenting to a neighbour’s proposed building extensions, especially if you are considering extending your own unit at some time in the future.