What Is A Maisonette And How Is It Different From A Flat?

  • Learn about maisonettes and how they're different from flats.
  • Are they a good investment in the UK?
interior of an open plan flat

When you’re looking for a new place to move into, you will find that there are quite a number of terms used to describe various residential buildings. Most property websites will offer common search terms at first, but you can use advanced search options to go further.

These advanced searches will lead you to maisonettes. At first glance, it may seem that a maisonette is no more than a flat with an extra feature or two, but they are two very distinctive property types. Maisonettes are not just flats with staircases; they are a wonderful construction to live in.

What is a maisonette?

Depending on the country that you live in, a maisonette can have different definitions. For the UK, a maisonette is defined as a flat which is part of a larger building that covers more than one floor. It is a self-contained property.

Americans would refer to this kind of property as a duplex, while a maisonette would refer to a penthouse.

There are also a fair few other definitions around the world, and they all refer to different kinds of residential buildings, so try not to stick to the same word that we use here in the UK when searching for properties abroad.

The interior of an open-plan flat.

What is the difference between living in a flat and a maisonette?

While a flat is housed on a single floor in a larger building, a maisonette consists of at least two floors in a larger building. That is not to say that a maisonette is two full floors of living spaces, no, a maisonette simply uses the staircase as part of the property.

In a way, you could think of a maisonette as a loft, where the staircase is the ladder that leads up to the property, and you own or rent that entire space (staircase included).

A maisonette wouldn’t usually be found within a large building that has been converted into a number of flats. Maisonettes are quite unique and are more likely to be found as the upper floor of a building that looks like a normal two-floor house.

Maisonettes have their own entrance, which opens directly onto a staircase in most cases. The staircase leads straight up into the rest of the property. Other than the staircase and private entrance, a maisonette should appear very similar to a standard flat.

When compared to a flat, a maisonette should give its owner or renter more space. Owners or renters may also benefit from larger outdoor space alongside their property.

How do I search for maisonettes?

To specifically search for maisonette, check the advanced search section of the property websites that you’re using to search on. Rightmove and Zoopla do not allow you to search by subtypes of properties, but you can use the keyword “Maisonette” to filter some of the results.

Onthemarket, however, will let searchers filter by a range of property types, including maisonettes.

Alternatively, you can contact local estate agents and let them know that you’re explicitly looking to buy or rent a maisonette.

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An aerial view of a residential area bathed in sunlight
The UK looking lovely from above!

Are maisonettes a good investment?

Maisonettes can be amazing investments for buyers looking for a new venture. They’re fairly sought after because they have more space and more privacy than a standard flat does but will be a similar price.

Depending on the floors that the maisonette stretches over, the property could have access to a loft storage space, too. This extra storage is always seen as a bonus when buyers are looking for properties.

Maisonettes are, essentially, halfway between a flat and a house. They’re cosy, they have more storage, the value is great for the amount of space the property has, and you have the look of a house without dealing with cleaning and decorating a full property.

Do maisonettes present any issues?

Depending on what you want from your property, a maisonette will either be the perfect property or won’t be quite what you’re looking for.

One of the major issues that people find with maisonettes is the lack of parking. If you’re looking, you will come across a maisonette that has its own off-road parking space. If not, you could be sharing parking space with more people than the average residential street.

Maisonettes aren’t always suitable properties, either. Because they have stairs, anyone with a physical disability may find it difficult to enter and exit the property with ease.

You’ll also have more neighbours. Whether that’s a bad thing or not is up to you!

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