Making Alterations To Your Leasehold Property? - Jonathan Lea Network

Making Alterations To Your Leasehold Property?

As a leaseholder looking to make alterations to your leasehold property, you will need to seek approval from your freeholder. Your lease will need to be reviewed to ascertain whether alterations are permitted and what the requirements are to carry out the alterations. Many leases will state that the freeholder’s reasonable consent cannot be withheld, but we will need to check your lease carefully before advising you.

Licence to Alter (Licence for Alterations)

If the alterations are minimal and basic, it may be that the freeholder’s letter of consent will suffice. However, any structural works will almost certainly require a Licence and leaseholders often presume that they can make alterations such as replacing a kitchen or changing the flooring without a Licence as they own the property, but this is not always the case. The lease will almost certainly state that the freeholder’s permission is required before undertaking any works.

If approval is given, you will need this recorded in a Licence to Alter or Licence for Alterations. The Licence is a legal document that sets out the scope of the works and the conditions to carrying out the work, so that there are no future disputes.

If the works are major, you will need to have building regulations consent/planning consent and will need to supply architectural drawings and other relevant paperwork. You will be responsible for the costs of these consents/drawings.

In seeking your Licence, you should be aware that your freeholder may charge a premium for the Licence and you will also be responsible for their legal costs as well as your own, so you will need to bear this in mind when assessing costs.

If any alterations are undertaken without the permission of the freeholder, there can be severe consequences for the leaseholder, i.e. forfeiture of the lease, although your freeholder may agree to grant a Retrospective Licence to Alter.

Retrospective Licence to Alter

As stated above, there can be severe consequences of not obtaining freeholder consent to any alterations. However, if alterations have been carried out (i.e. by the previous owner) without freeholder consent, your freeholder may agree to grant a Retrospective Licence to Alter if he considers that the works have been properly carried out. As with a Licence to Alter, you will need the relevant paperwork, including any building regulations consents and you may also need to pay a premium.

Whether you are a leaseholder, or indeed the freeholder granting the Licence, at The Jonathan Lea Network, we have experienced property professionals who can advise you fully on the process and draft and complete the documentation.

Please contact wewillhelp@jonathanlea.net for further information.

This article is intended for general information only, applies to the law at the time of publication, is not specific to the facts of your case and is not intended to be a replacement for legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before relying on any of the information given. © Jonathan Lea Limited 2024. 

About Karen Muir

Karen specialises in leasehold enfranchisement, including dealing with Tribunal and Court applications and has been working in this area for around seven years.

Karen’s wider practice also includes The Right of First Refusal, Licences to Alter, Deeds of Variation and all matters relating to landlord and tenant law.  Karen has worked mainly in the Surrey and Sussex areas.

The Jonathan Lea Network is an SRA regulated firm that employs solicitors, trainees and paralegals who work from a modern office in Haywards Heath. This close-knit retain team is enhanced by a trusted network of specialist self-employed solicitors who, where relevant, combine seamlessly with the central team.

If you’d like a competitive quote for any legal work please first send an email to wewillhelp@jonathanlea.net with an introduction and an overview of the issues you’d like to discuss, following which someone will liaise to fix a mutually convenient time for a no cost no obligation initial call with one of our fee earners.

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