If you are considering making alterations to your flat or apartment, you must check what consents you need from the Freeholder to avoid breaching your lease.

If you purchase a leasehold property, your lease is likely to contain a covenant that requires you to seek the landlord’s permission for certain alterations. These can include fitting a wooden floor, installing windows, or making other structural alterations such as removing a wall.

The extent of what constitutes a “structural alteration” may be unclear but, if in any doubt, it’s best to err on the side of caution and ensure consent is obtained before commencing work.

Consent can be achieved through applying for a Licence to Alter, a formal written document from your landlord, giving approval to the changes you wish to make to the property. Failure to secure a Licence to Alter will most likely result in a breach of the lease, with the ultimate and highly unwelcome risk of forfeiture of your lease.

Where consent can’t be obtained, the burden of proof is on you, the leaseholder, to show that the landlord has ‘unreasonably withheld consent’. A lack of response or an unreasonable refusal from the landlord will usually mean you can proceed without breaching your lease.

To avoid a breach of lease and a claim of forfeiture, it is essential that you:

Understand your lease and the covenants within it, and

Follow the correct procedure for securing the landlord’s permission.

Do not, however, panic if works have been carried out without consent as you can always apply for retrospective consent.

Call us today for assistance on 0203 219 0145 or email arman@oliverfisher.co.uk.

By Arman Khosravi, Partner, 10th January 2018.

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