Last edited 30 Mar 2017

Flat definition

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Approved document B, Fire Safety, Volume 1 Dwelling houses, defines a flat as:

'A separate and self-contained premises constructed or adapted for use for residential purposes and forming part of a building from some other part of which it is divided horizontally.'

It also suggests that this '...includes live/work units, i.e. a flat intended to serve as a workplace for its occupants and for persons who do not live on the premises.

The English Housing Survey Housing Stock Report, 2014-15, prepared by the Department of Communities and Local Government, gives the following additional categories:

  • Converted flat: A flat resulting from the conversion of a house or former non-residential building. Includes buildings converted into a flat plus commercial premises (such as corner shops).
  • Purpose built flat, low rise: A flat in a purpose built block less than six storeys high. Includes cases where there is only one flat with independent access in a building which is also used for non-domestic purposes.
  • Purpose built flat, high rise: A flat in a purpose built block of at least six storeys high.

In North America, the term 'condominium' refers to residential blocks in which the residents own their individual flats and the common areas are owned jointly and managed collectively. Condominiums are distinguished from apartments, in that the flats are owned rather than leased.

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