If you are considering relocating overseas or just looking for a change of scenery, one of the first choices you should make is which type of accommodation you would like to live in. But if you are a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

By weighing up the pros and cons of a maisonette, or a duplex, and a flat, you can make an informed decision. Consider reading to find out which option you should choose. 

The Number Of Storeys  

One of the main differences between a maisonette and a flat is how many storeys they are built on. A maisonette is, in the simplest of terms, a two-storey residential building situated above a commercial building. This can be a shop, office, restaurant, café, garage, or separate block of flats.

As a result, it is commonly referred to as a house on stilts. Unlike a standard flat, however, which has a shared entranceway, it tends to be designed with its own front door, entranceway, and staircase. If you are considering a flat but are not necessarily thrilled at the thought of a shared entranceway, a maisonette may be your best bet. 

The Amount Of Outdoor Space

It is common knowledge that a flat tends to lack substantial, if any, outdoor space. A maisonette, on the other hand, more often than not, comes equipped with a front or back garden, or both. If you are looking to break free from the constraints of a flat but are not necessarily in the position to step foot onto the property ladder and purchase your first home, a maisonette can be a great intermediary between the two.

As well as a garden, they also usually benefit from a garage so you can maximise space and plan ahead as a growing family. If a garden is not an option, a maisonette may be fitted with a private or public balcony so you can bring the outdoors in. 

Freehold Or Leasehold? 

Before you choose between a maisonette and a flat, you must decide whether you would prefer a freehold or a leasehold. If you are torn, an estate agent should be able to point you in the right direction. A maisonette can be either freehold or leasehold. It is worth noting, however, that leasehold is the most common option for a growing number of people.

To ensure you have made the right decision, it may benefit you to shop around for a maisonette for sale as a freehold as well as a leasehold. By opting for leasehold, you will pay what is called ground rent to the owner of the freehold. This is, essentially, paying for the ground on which the maisonette is built on. By choosing freehold, however, you will own the building as well as the ground it is built on. As a general rule of thumb, both maisonettes and flats tend to be leasehold whilst freehold is usually reserved for houses. 


When it comes to shopping around for a new place to live, flats offer the least amount of privacy. This is due to each individual residential building residing in close proximity to another. They require tenants to share an entranceway, staircase, and sometimes even amenities. If you are looking to make new friends in the process, however, this can be a great option.

Flats also tend to benefit from greater community spirit than maisonettes or houses. With a maisonette, however, you will be treated to your own entranceway so you can extend your private space outdoors. In the simplest of terms, a maisonette provides residents with the luxury of a home for less. 


As with all types of accommodation, you must consider how safe and secure your new home is likely to be ahead of your move-in date. With its own entranceway and no need to share a corridor with your immediate neighbours, maisonettes tend to benefit from greater security.

By living in closer proximity to fellow tenants in your block of flats, however, flats can provide an extra layer of security in the event of an accident or emergency. Whichever option you choose is largely dependent on personal preference as well as whether or not you are likely to remain there on a short-term or long-term basis. It is also worth noting that the rental or purchase price of a luxury flat may include a 24-hour concierge or security guard. 

Before you choose to move into a maisonette or a flat, there are several factors you should consider beforehand. For example, you must make a decision when it comes to the number of storeys, amount of outdoor space, freehold or leasehold, privacy, and security. By doing so, you are less likely to make a mistake you may regret down the line.