Licence to alter

A leasehold owner proposing structural or material changes to their property will generally require the consent of their Landlord under the terms of the lease.

Such consent must not be unreasonably withheld but will typically be provided in the form of a written Licence to Alter (or License for Alternations) so that the interests of the Landlord and any other affected leasehold owners in the building are protected.

The legal document will generally be drafted by the Landlord’s solicitor and then revised following input from a surveyor to reflect the specific details of the proposed work and the characteristics of the building.

The first step will generally involve the leaseholder approaching their Landlord or managing agent with details of the work that they wish to undertake. Those details will likely be passed to the Landlord’s surveyor and/or solicitor to review and to determine whether a Licence to Alter is required. The leaseholder is responsible for their Landlord’s reasonable professional fees and an undertaking for fees is usually made at this point.

Assuming that a licence is required full details of the proposed works, including detailed drawings and a specification must be prepared and submitted for review by the freeholder’s surveyor. The solicitor may choose to now draft the licence, to which the surveyor may see the need to add to as their role progresses.

Once full information is available a site visit will generally be arranged so that the surveyor can consider the proposals in context and schedule the condition of any adjoining properties that might be affected by the works.

When the surveyor has completed his review of the proposals he will report to the Landlord and often add additional clauses into the licence and request additional information from the leaseholder as necessary. Between the solicitor and surveyor, they need to ensure that the leaseholder has instructed appropriate professionals for specific tasks and that the project manager has undertaken their role, to ensure legislative compliance and best practice adherence. If it is deemed reasonable, the surveyor may need to instruct other third parties e.g. a checking engineer, if the scale and risks associated with the project warrant such involvement.

While the works are in progress the surveyor will visit from time to time depending upon the complexity of the works and will make a final inspection upon completion.

Landlord

If as a Landlord your Leaseholder has submitted an application for alterations, we can act for you from beginning to end. We will provide an expert assessment of the Leaseholder’s proposals, review any documentation and request further details if deemed necessary. As part of this we will observe and provide comment on the short and long-term impacts of the Leaseholder’s works as well and immediate effects on other local occupiers. We will work alongside an experienced solicitor to ensure that the Terms and Conditions of the consent protect your interests, all while moving the process forward in a reasonable timeframe so you avoid any unwanted claims of delays.

Leaseholder

As a Leaseholder proposing to make alterations to your property, we take control of the LTA application process and submit this to the Landlord’s Consent. We will ensure that as many relevant documents/information is included to not only reduce delays, but also look to keep the Landlord’s fees to a minimum. The role also extends to ensuring that the consent is obtained promptly and not unreasonably withheld and that any Terms and Conditions are reasonable and to not impose unnecessary obligations or restrictions.

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