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Can We Make Structural Alterations To Leasehold Property?

Leasehold Property

In case you are in possession of a leasehold property, your ownership is subjected only for a certain period of time. The contract between you and the property owner is fixed at the time of leasing the property itself and one cannot have possession of the property for more than that period.

The legal agreement that is made between the two parties, state clearly the terms and conditions that the ‘leaseholder’ or the ‘temporary property owner’ would have to follow throughout his or her possession of the property. In most cases, the leasehold property ownership is carried out for flats only but it can also be done in case of houses when they are bought under the “shared ownership scheme’.

Coming back to the terms and conditions that the owners put on the leaseholders, in most cases, the permission for alterations are not given to them by the actual owners. As it involves a risk of damaging the property or blending it in a way which the owners do not find quite feasible, the rights to altering the structure are not provided to the leaseholder in most of the cases. But then, can it be not done under any circumstances? We shall discuss it in details below.

Ground rules that must be followed

What are the ground rules that must be followed if a leaseholder wants to make Structural alterations in a leasehold property?

Well, first of all, a leaseholder should be very clear regarding all the terms and conditions mentioned in the legal agreement, breaking which can drag them into legal troubles too! But sometimes, the need for changing something on the property or in case of any damaged part, the need for Structural alterations become a necessity for the leaseholders.

These conditions arise mostly when the property is leased for a longer period of time and used extensively by the leaseholder. In cases like these, the alterations in structure can be made but only after fulfilling certain criteria. When you successfully fulfill these criteria, you are granted permission for making any structural alterations in the leasehold property.

And the criteria is to seek consent from the landlord to carry out the alterations. This is normally termed as the ‘legal licensee’ of alteration of the leasehold properties which can be obtained faster by the leaseholders upon producing the given causes

  • A full-fledged description of the alteration work that would be carried out in the property
  • A model drawing of the existing property along with the new structure that is supposed to be built there, after the alteration work
  • A full proved program for the same work
  • The old and new Specifications mentioned in details
  • Method statements
  • Risk assessments
  • The evidence of having an insurance of the leasehold property so that any damage or improper alterations are subjected to no-harming of the original landlord and the leaseholder should comply with the law.
  • Other pieces of evidence like the statuary approvals, ‘building regulation’ permission, planning permissions, etc.
  • ‘Party wall’ act compliance and its evidence

These are some of the special mentions that the leaseholders must present in front of the landlord in the presence of legal attorneys of both sides, to seek permission for the alterations and thereby getting a nod for obtaining the legal license. In case of any damage to the property thereafter, the leaseholder would be responsible for it.

What do the leaseholders get in return?

By no means, can the landlord retain the permission of the alteration when the work has started or the structural alterations have already started! This point must also be mentioned in the legal licensee so that the leaseholder is on a sage side as well. When the landlord gives consent for the alteration works, he cannot withhold it anymore. In some cases, the leaseholders need to pay a handsome amount of fees to the landlords to seek permissions from the same. In situations like these, the leaseholders acquire more power to make the Alteration works go on without any obstruction. If still the landlords create any issue as to what kind of alterations are made, how they are made or raise any other such questions, the leaseholders have all the right to seek legal action against them.

Make sure that the property is in good condition

When you are in possession of a leasehold property or you plan to lease one, make sure that the property is in good condition and you don’t have to go through the alteration processes. Because once you start living there or start using the property for any other cause, altering it would require much more effort than seeking the legal permission itself. If still, you need to make alterations, try to finish the work before settling in as it would make things easier for you and the landlord as well.

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