Introduction – what do we mean?

A maisonette is a type of apartment that has two floors. There are many different types of maisonettes, depending on the country in question, but there are some common themes.

Some people argue they are types of flats; others argue that a flat is totally different and it’s never a flat! (Spoiler – we think it’s a type of flat, and we discuss flats v maisonettes lower down as a type of property.

Even the word maisonette can cause some confusion, as it means little house in French or does it? Read on in this blog to find out our storey (geddit?)


The word maisonette is a French term that could refer to many different types of apartment. In France, it can mean any residence on the ground floor of an apartment building. In the UK it means a flat that owns part of the freehold of the building or has an obligation in respect of that building.

It can also refer to residences with at least two storey, where one level has its own entrance and is not connected to other units in the building by stairs or elevators.

But even then that might not be the case. Buying a maisonette can be confusing so if you are looking to buy a maisonette then call use here at Emerald and we can take at least one task – your home insurance – off your hands.

Your first home?

It may be that you are looking for your first self-contained flat, in perhaps a small block of flats or above a commercial parade of shops. But it could also be a family home – albeit maybe just a small family living space around a staircase.

If your home features this type of living space, make sure you protect it with insurance from Emerald! We specialize in providing coverage for these types of properties because they are unique and require special care.

You will want homeowners insurance that protects against theft, fire damage, weather related events such as hail storms or hurricanes, water damage from burst pipes or roof leaks-the list goes on and on. Contact us today if you would like more information about protecting your biggest asset.

Leasehold or freehold?

This can be confusing for people buying a maisonette. A maisonette is technically always a leasehold maisonette, but over and above ground rent, service charge etc, you also own a share of the freehold (now you can see the confusion – leasehold or freehold) so need to insure that separately from the other maisonette owners.

What does it consist of?

The bottom floor is typically used for living space whereas the top floor is often used as an additional bedroom and storage space, but usually they each have a private entrance.

Maisonettes are popular in Europe, particularly the UK, France and Germany, but can also be found in other countries such as Japan or America. It may not be common to your home country, but it’s worth investigating if you’re interested in buying an apartment building with more than one unit!

Are we in Europe?

In continental Europe, a maisonette is a type of multi-unit housing that has one larger unit on the ground floor and several smaller units (either apartments or garages) situated above the space, though these are not called houses.

The term “maisonette” originates from the French word for “house”. This style of living space can be found in many parts of Europe, including France, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever lived in a maisonette before? What was your experience like? Share with us!

Still think you know what a maisonette is?

Here’s even another definition – to help with this clarity!

A maisonette is a type of self-contained flat that can be in a multi-unit dwelling that occupies the floors above ground level and can be on two floors, and again a leasehold maisonette.

Maisonettes have their own entrance to the street and its own front door. It could have a living area on the first floor with a staircase leading up to the bedroom in the upper floors. However, layouts very all the time and people still argue over whether something is a maisonette or not – and those arguments are likely to continue even after you have read this blog!

This type of home can be found throughout Europe where it is most popular in France as well as England and Scotland. It is becoming more popular in England in new build construction, but was also popular in the 1960s here, where small parades of shops often had maisonettes above them

Maisonettes could be larger than apartments (even a split level flat) but smaller than a house which means they could be perfect for anyone seeking more space without giving up too much convenience.

A maisonette can also have loft space if it is on the top of a building, and that private loft space is not shared. It may also have a garden if it is a ground floor maisonette and that garden is usually private. So in many ways like houses.

Is it a flat?

A maisonette property can sometimes be referred to a flat, but that is not technically right as a flat will not pay a share of the freehold insurance (so extra costs) whereas a maisonette would normally pay that.

Also a maisonette will usually have its own front door and that front door may be its own door number (is not A or B) and so is more like a small house.


A maisonette as a property is a type of flat that can be found in many modern-day residential buildings. The word comes from the French words “maisons” and “etage,” meaning house and story or floor – so maybe not ‘little house’!

It generally refers to an apartment on two levels with its own entrance to the street, kitchen, bathroom, living room area as well as bedroom space for at least two occupants.

Emerald Insurance as a business has been providing costs-effective insurance solutions to both homeowners and renters across the UK for their property (maisonettes, flats, houses or any other property) for many years now.

This is our business and as a business and we know how important it is to make sure your property is insured so you don’t have anything taken away from you if disaster strikes such as fire or flooding.

It will of course also be a requirement of your mortgage to get insurance for your property, so we aim to make the cover as affordable as possible, and if you can find cheaper let us know. Cheaper isn’t always better but if we have room and aren’t limited we will try to match offers from serious competitors.

We offer coverage for a range of structures including apartments with more than one level (or where there is a share of freehold) as well as flats that look similar.

Final thoughts

Maisonettes can as a general example be a good buy for a homeowner but maisonettes have some quirks that owners of maisonettes know only too well.

So while there are some differences as maisonettes, they really are not more confusing than those that concerns flats, or any other non-standard property (including flats!).

Even houses have their quirks too – so don’t be put off maisonettes because of what you hear. Yes there are some costs for maisonette properties but like all communal structures that is to be expected.

All properties are individual, and whether they are private or non-private (which means that they have a communal entrance – usually unlikely) or in a block, it is worth exploring if a maisonette is for you.

Remember when you are selecting an insurer that Emerald is an award-winning insurer that is always happy to help whether maisonettes, flats, or houses (ie those with a staircase!).


What is a maisonette vs a house?

This can be confusing when people are buying a maisonette. A house is usually a freehold property, whereas under English law a maisonette should always be a leasehold property.

However, both can be quite similar in terms of whether or not they have stairs or a staircase, parking, storage, no communal entrance, garden, proximity of neighbours.

A maisonette can sometimes have separate external storage and will usually have street access.

Can a maisonette be on one floor?

It can be but there are many variants 0f maisonette, including those maisonettes with separate access, private garden, a parking space, a maisonette built into a complex of houses, linked to someone else’s communal parking.

A maisonette is a type of home in England that can have more than one floor. A maisonette typically features two bedrooms on the lower level, and one or more living spaces (including kitchens) with access to balconies or terraces at the top or further loft space.

If you live in this style of maisonette home make sure your insurance covers it! Give us a call if you need help finding an affordable solution for your needs and your maisonette.

Because a maisonette is different from a house, and can be on two floors, a maisonette can be confusing but generally a house has a simpler legal structure and with a house there are no service charges etc but you may find that a maisonette is better value than a house.

Is a maisonette a good buy?

In today’s property market, it is possible to obtain a maisonette or duplex at a good price (although price is relative, for example between a maisonette in London and a maisonette located in an area outside London).

It can sometimes be difficult to get a mortgage on a maisonette in the mortgage market but that should not hold you back. It could also be tricker finding insurance for your duplex or maisonette – and that’s where Emerald can help with an insurance policy to suit your needs.

What is the difference between a terraced house and a maisonette?

There are some difference. A terraced house does not pay any ground rent as it is a freehold, but you would pay ground rent on a maisonette, and unlike a house that ground rent may change over the term of a lease depending on what was agreed re ground rent in the original lease.

There may also be a service charge to pay and again that service charge (and the obligation to pay) may change in the lease depending on the terms of the original lease (so much like ground rent).

However, both have a separate entrance, and are adjoining to neighbours. While they both have separate access a terraced house would be freehold rather than leasehold.


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It is registered as a limited company registered in England in Companies House with registered number available there and is directly regulated and authorised given its registered address and registered office in England.

Companies authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority can be found at the Financial Conduct Authority’s website – – which deals with financial services.

Article summary: Maisonette/Maisonettes on a single floor/Maisonettes on two floors/Split level maisonettes/maisonette v house/maisonettes v flats/flats and leasehold/Problems with neighbours