Any problems with top floor apartments?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Chopera Chopera 3 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #57345
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    We are looking to buy a top floor apartment.
    Small building, only 4 or 5 floors.
    There is no swimming pool on the roof.
    It is a new build.
    I am wondering, are there any problems in owning top floor apartments?
    We’re just a little afraid of the weather damage related problems.

  • #116094
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    I bought a sobreatico last August. It does not have any common walls and we are installing insulation.

    When it is mildly windy on the street, it can be very windy on the 9th floor. But it is not a problem for me.

    Also, if there is a community terrace above your top-floor apartment, that may be annoying from noise, parties, etc. In our building, there is a community terrace above us, but it is for utilities such as air conditioners, parabolic dish (TV antenna), etc.

    One other problem – if the elevator stops working, we have a lot of steps to climb.

    Regarding weather damage, we have none. If any of the exterior walls are exposed brick, it would be better if they are sprayed with foam and covered with sheets of metal.

    I wouldn’t trade my apartment for anything – we have wonderful views.

  • #116095
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    I know someone who had a penthouse. Fairly new build and they did have a lot of problem with water damage. However, the community insurance did cover the damage each time but it was inconvenient.

  • #116097
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    May I ask which company your insurance company is with and how much and what cover it is for.
    I haven’t seen anywhere as to an example of how much people pay in their community fees each year.
    Perhaps someone can give me an idea on that?
    I would think though it would be determined by how many owners are in the building as to how much they each would pay.

    We are right at the edge of the cliff now. Trying to make the final decision to buy or not 🙂

  • #116113
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    In my opinion, you should always buy a top floor apartment if there is a lift and you can afford to. I hate listening to people walking around above me at night.

  • #116116
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    We live in an atico and it’s fantastic – no neighbours above and only one party wall. The roof has leaked slightly but since it belongs to the community, repair comes out of the overall budget. I think this is the case most blocks of flats in Spain. Also the escrituras often contain a clause saying that the terrace (if there is one) belongs to the community but is for your personal and private enjoyment. Which means that maintenance should be carried out by the community. Furthermore if it is a new build it should come with a 10 year guarantee from the builder.

    However we also lived in another atico several years ago and it wasn’t well insulated – it got very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer (unless you had the a/c on the whole time). Generally aticos fetch higher prices than other flats (assuming they have a lift – but if it’s a new build it should have one, and it should be well insulated) and if they have large balconies where you can have BBQs or just fall asleep under the stars then they can be highly sought after (well, in Madrid they are)

  • #116123
    Profile photo of Fuengi (Andrew)
    Fuengi (Andrew)
    Participant

    Can be VERY hot in the summer.

    Roofing, etc.. will be covered by community, but remember you will be the first to realise the damage (leaks and so on)

    Also has top floors tend to be larger properties or have larger terraces, you will be paying higher % of the community fees.

    If its a new build, check to see if there is already a community set up. If not who will be paying to and recifications needed. Also just because its a new build (not a resale) does not mean that it has not been completed a few years back. A survey of the roof and property would be a safe idea.

  • #116135
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    Regarding the need for air conditioning: We are lucking enough to have windows facing north, south east and west, so if we open them all, we get a wonderful breeze in summer, even when the air is still at street level, so the need for air conditioning is reduced.

    Regardless, we are installing insulation, sound-proofing and new double-pane windows. It seems like a worth-while investment in our comfort and lower utility bills.

    As for heating, we have one of those systems of several radiators off our hot-water heater in the flat. During January and February, we kept the temperature constant, about 18C°, and our gas bills were always below 50€/month.

  • #116137
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    Yes my parents in the UK have tried the technique of keeping the heating constantly on at “not too high” a temperature and they’ve seen a dramatic fall in bills. Apparently more energy is used in heating a place up each day than it is in keeping it at a constant temperature. Unfortunately we have a communal heating system that means we have no control of the radiator temperatures, and we can’t get the neighbours to agree to try this.

    We installed new windows last summer and now our flat is too warm – we have to open windows to cool it down in winter. A ridiculous waste, but it seems some of our neighbours have old windows that are poorly insulated and they won’t change them.

  • #116143
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I have always bought a top floor. ( The last one was 5th floor top) The issues of heat/cold etc cancels itself out. My main reason for this is noise from flat upstairs. Ladies heals is an issue & people laughing, talking loud & generally behaving in a selfish manner.

    My, current property is on the third floor although I have a lift but I only use it on the day of my arrival & departure for carrying the suit cases etc.

    Take it from Mark & Chopera they live there all round. Even if the lift breakdown this will be less of an issue than a lack sleep on a regular basis.

  • #116146
    Profile photo of angie
    angie
    Spectator

    That’s interesting chopera about your parents house and heating bills. It does work, we have a newish eco house which is so well insulated that if we turn the heating to 12-14 degrees only, and all day in the Winter, the thermostat reading for the rest of the house goes up to around 20 degrees somehow. There are some pipes under the ground floor which warm the floor up so think it’s because of this. Just 2 solar/daylight hot water panels on the roof gives us piping hot water 74 C (fitted with anti scald system too) from April to October with no gas or electric used, and from October to April it still gets up to 30 C in the cylinder from grey days, so a 15 minute whizz of the boiler and it’s hot again 60 C. It’s a Vaillant system and brilliant. Dual fual gas and electric bills are really low, and this in the UK. 😛

  • #116162
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    With regards to being unable to regulate the temperature.
    If you are on a communal system, are they using the European water heater system of the main communal hot water feed?
    If so, you should do as we do here in Siberia, in the off season, add a regulating tap in the pipe that leads from the mains to your heaters, this way you can regulate the water flow which in turn regulates the heat.

    Thank you all for your opinions, they are much appreciated.

  • #116163
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    If you’re fit enough to use the stairs on the few occasions you may have to, then aticos are much better than lower apartments, which is why they cost more, often much more.

    A safety issue could arise if you have young children, I’ve lived in two aticos and worried when young children came to visit.

    And if it’s a high atico, you need a head for heights.

  • #116171
    Profile photo of Fuengi (Andrew)
    Fuengi (Andrew)
    Participant

    There is also the matter of resale value. In general there is a higher demand for top floors properties especially if they benefit from sunny terrace and views.

  • #116229
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    More risk of breakins at top floors. Problems with water through the roof.

  • #116236
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @rgjoyce wrote:

    With regards to being unable to regulate the temperature.
    If you are on a communal system, are they using the European water heater system of the main communal hot water feed?
    If so, you should do as we do here in Siberia, in the off season, add a regulating tap in the pipe that leads from the mains to your heaters, this way you can regulate the water flow which in turn regulates the heat.

    Thank you all for your opinions, they are much appreciated.

    Our system was built in the 70s. Each flat has an identical flat above/below it, with the radiators in the same place. The radiators are stacked in individual columns (being the top floor we have valves to bleed each stack of radiators, the flats below don’t have bleed valves). So regulating the heat for each flat individually is not really an option – in theory we could regulate the heat for each stack of radiators but it would be a bit pointless.

    Most new flats have individual boilers these days – and by law you have to maintain them on a regular basis (get them serviced avery two years or so, a bit like MOTs)

  • #116237
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @Rocker wrote:

    If you’re fit enough to use the stairs on the few occasions you may have to, then aticos are much better than lower apartments, which is why they cost more, often much more.

    A safety issue could arise if you have young children, I’ve lived in two aticos and worried when young children came to visit.

    And if it’s a high atico, you need a head for heights.

    We’ve put up nets on our balcony:

    http://www.redsolutions.es/hogar-ventanas-balcones-terrazas/

    http://unmundoderedes.com/

    Well worth it for the peace of mind

  • #116279
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    We’ve put up nets on our balcony:

    May I suggest that, if and when you decide to sell you place, you remove these. Our atico had them on the big terrace – I took them down after the 1st week and it is such a different experience.

  • #116300
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @garysfbcn wrote:

    We’ve put up nets on our balcony:

    May I suggest that, if and when you decide to sell you place, you remove these. Our atico had them on the big terrace – I took them down after the 1st week and it is such a different experience.

    Good point – although we’ll take them down anyway in a few years time (when the kids are older). Even though we live in an atico we don’t have one of those big open air terraces, ours is only about 10m2 and the building’s roof extends over it, so the nets don’t make that much of a difference. Also they are good for growing creepers over them (well, I’ll be trying to train some morning glory over them this summer)

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