Landlord asking for a premium for proposed construction - with a twist!

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    Landlord asking for a premium for proposed construction - with a twist!

    So,

    I reside within a maisonette flat as a leaseholder. The landlord is a very-much-for-profit company with a history of only really looking at the margins and not really caring about the occupants, so we have recently taken over the management of the property (including the person who is the leaseholder in the one other flat which forms the building) through the RTM scheme.

    I recently applied to the RTM company (which is just me plus the other leaseholder) to ask for permission to build a small garden office in the garden which is demised to me in the lease. The RTM company then wrote to the landlord detailing the proposal and giving them the chance to object to the permission within 30 days.

    The landlord has responded not to the RTM company, but directly to me as the leaseholder, treating me as if they were doing the management and it was their decision to grant permission. They have also asked for a very generous premium to be paid in order for permission to be granted...

    The applicable clause in the lease states:

    "Not to make any structural alterations or structural additions to the said Flat or the internal arrangements thereof or remove any of the Landlords fixtures without the previous consent in writing of the Lessor."

    So, questions:

    Have I got the right end of the stick that it should be the RTM company granting permission and giving the landlord the chance to object?

    Given the wording of this clause in the lease, and the fact that the RTM company is managing the building, should the landlord be able to apply such a heavy premium or just have us pay for their reasonable costs?


    Would be very pleased and grateful to hear your thoughts on this.

    LW





    #2
    The RTM company is the manager and not the lessor/freeholder. I would assume you still need the freeholder's permission.

    Comment


      #3
      As the garden is demised to you, it is you who needs permission from the freeholder to make alterations. The freeholder is correct to contact you directly and by pass the RTM company.

      If the lease does not specify an amount, the freeholder can charge a reasonable sum for granting consent. If you disagree with the amount, you should try to negotiate an amount with the freeholder. If you cannot reach agreement, you can ask the FTT to determine a reasonable amount.

      Comment


        #4
        I suggest you read section 20 about granting approvals which passes to RTM. :

        https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/right-manage/

        Comment


          #5
          There are two questions here.

          The first is who gives consent. That is answered by the outline published by LEASE and by section 96 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002: https://legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/15/section/96 It is the RTM

          The second question is whether a premium can be charged. That is answered by section 19(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927: https://legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo.../36/section/19 The section expressly provides that no premium may be charged for granting consent if the lease says that alterations are not to be made without consent.

          Comment


            #6
            Consent is covered by section 98, not section 96. The landlord has a power of veto, and if they exercise it, must tell the leaseholder directly.

            Comment


              #7
              I read parts of Section 98 CLRA 2002 including :

              Clause 2b to mean the "grant of approvals to tenant are functions of the RTM"

              Clause 4b to mean the RTM must not grant an approval before serving 14 days notice to the landlord under the lease..

              Clause 6b to mean any function of the tenant to the landlord is exerciseable to the RTM.


              There is no mention in 4b of landlord having any right to veto.

              I believe under 6b , any payment by tenant for granting approval is paid to the RTM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Lemon Wombat View Post
                I recently applied to the RTM company (which is just me plus the other leaseholder) to ask for permission to build a small garden office in the garden which is demised to me in the lease.
                Originally posted by Lemon Wombat View Post
                The applicable clause in the lease states:

                "Not to make any structural alterations or structural additions to the said Flat or the internal arrangements thereof or remove any of the Landlords fixtures without the previous consent in writing of the Lessor."
                Am I missing something here?

                (Or maybe nit-picking, but isn't that just what your/his lawyers are going to do).

                If the proposed office is going to be stand alone than does that particular clause even cover it?

                A stand alone structure in the garden is not a "structural alteration" or "structural addition" to the "said flat or the internal arrangements thereof".

                Even if joined on to the flat, via an existing door which you don't change, then as long as it is removable and not structural then that clause does not forbid it.

                Agreed that it's an alteration to the demised property, but that's not what the clause forbids.
                The clause says "structural change", to the "said flat", nothing about free standing additions in the garden.

                Of course there may be some other clause that does apply.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Section 99 gives the right to veto. There would be little point in telling the freeholder, if they could do nothing about it!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It is not a veto, but rather a right to object. If the objection is not withdrawn either party can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a ruling.

                    The landlord may well decide to drop out of the picture if the provisions of section 19(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 are drawn to his attention.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks for your comments so far, I am intrigued to see it maybe isn't black and white... At least my confusion is justified! Thank you.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I made a longer post but it went to moderation when I edited it.

                        To give a quick repeat of it - Would a detached office in the garden be a 'structural' alteration or 'structural addition' to the 'said flat'?
                        An alteration to the demise yes, but not structural to the 'said flat'.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by nukecad View Post
                          Would a detached office in the garden be a 'structural' alteration or 'structural addition' to the 'said flat'?
                          An alteration to the demise yes, but not structural to the 'said flat'.
                          Depends on how "Flat" is defined in the lease.



                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                            There are two questions here.

                            The first is who gives consent. That is answered by the outline published by LEASE and by section 96 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002: https://legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/15/section/96 It is the RTM
                            Hi Lawcruncher Apologies for lighting up an old thread; happy to create a new one if it has value.

                            From your quote, are you confirming that consent (assuming not unreasonably withheld) for structural changes to the building by a leaseholder is granted by the RTM Co. and therefore, NOT the Freeholder ?

                            In other words, the RTM Co is legally required to grant consent, whereas the Freeholder can only object to that consent (published as a license to alter).

                            Until now, I assumed, as the Freeholder owns the building and the RTMCo is only responsible for its maintenance - also, as the Freeholder is a constant and the RTMCo is not (could be dissolved & directors come and go) - then it is logical the Freeholder would be responsible for granting consent.

                            How does another Leaseholder with a party wall to the structural changes fit in (assuming not a director of the RTM) ? Can they object ?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Where there is an RTM it is the RTM which has the legal right to grant consents for alterations where required. The same criteria apply as apply if it were the landlord personally granting consent. The RTM must give notice to the landlord who has the right to object to, but not veto, any consent.

                              Any party wall considerations are separate and covered by the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

                              Comment

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