Alterations on leasehold properties – is a licence necessary?
It is crucial that you have a licence before carrying out any property alterations if your lease or transfer document specifies that you need one. If you are unsure, you should apply to the landlord for a freeholder and you should always seek the help of a specialist solicitor.
How to obtain a license
Before you can get a licence you will need to secure planning permission, statutory consent and regulatory approval and you will also need to convince other leaseholders, your landlord and your mortgage provider to agree. A specialist solicitor will be able to prevent you from breaking any rules whilst ensuring that the cost does not get too high. Your solicitor will do the following:
• Check that the landlord is permitted to grant a licence for the work under the terms of the lease
• Check that the lease permits such work (some leases rule out structural changes to the property for example)
• Approach a surveyor for their assessment on how the proposed work will affect nearby properties in terms of possible damage, noise and inconvenience.
• Getting statutory consent, regulatory approval and planning permission
• Ensuring that the licence recognises the landlord’s right to check on the progress of the project
• Ensuring that detailed plans (scale 1:50) are drawn up by a professional and presented to a landlord.
Getting agreement from the freeholder
Freeholders/landlords generally agree to grant such licences as long as: your solicitor properly carried out the above duties; they are confident that the changes will not damage the value of the property; the changes will not jeopardise the safety of the building; the work will cause noise disturbance.
Licence for alterations – how long does it take?
The complexity of the proposed alterations and the work rate of the professionals involved will determine how long it takes to complete the process. You usually would not expect it to take longer than 8 weeks though.
If it doesn’t go according to plan…
If a licence is granted and the alternations made to not fit the terms of that licence, the landlord can permissibly make the licence void, thus putting the leaseholder in breach of the lease. If the leaseholder fails to return the property to its former state, the leaseholder may find themselves facing forfeiture and possession proceedings.
Licence for alterations – need specialist advice? Contact our experts
Make sure that you have a specialist leasehold solicitor on your side. Our experts have vast experience helping both freeholders and leaseholders with regards to work/alterations licences, so:
- Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544, or
- Send us an email via the contact form below to receive expert advice.
Comments or questions are welcome.