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Communal hallway storage area - who owns it?

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  • Communal hallway storage area - who owns it?

    I jointly own the lease of a London property, which includes 3 separate apartments with their own sub-leases. Together, we share/manage a communal entrance/staircase leading up to our apartments and a ~2SQM communal storage room. Our lease states that our premises include "the front entrance door of the Building" leading to our respective floors, "and the hall passage and staircase leading thereto". However, it doesn't specifically comment on the small communal storage area, which can only be accessed from the communal staircase of our 3 apartments. Until today, our 3 apartments shared the usage of this communal storage space.

    The freeholder of our building (which includes 2 commercial units at the bottom, in addition to our 3 apartments) recently decided to convert the commercial units into residential. The new apartments will keep their own entrance, and won't be part of our communal hallway. However, the freeholder has now approached us and demanded that we empty out the communal storage area, as he needs to use it to build a new fire exit route through our communal hallway for his new apartments.

    I'm curious if anyone has views whether we need to 'hand over' the communal hallway storage area since it's not specifically listed in the lease and therefore owned by the freeholder. Admittedly I am biased, but the way I read our lease implies that our 3 apartments own this space.
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