Freeholder licence fee for consent to replace windows

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    Freeholder licence fee for consent to replace windows

    I am planning to replace the windows in my flat as they are as old as the block (early 90s), timber single-glazed and the condensation/mould problem in the winter is really bad. The current windows also do not comply with Fire Egress Regulations. I plan to replace the windows with PVCU double-glazed windows of the same colour and design as the current windows.

    The block is owned by private freeholders and they are charging me £315 for a licence to change them as I am not replacing them like for like, even though my lease makes no reference to the material of the windows, only that I am responsible for repair/maintenance, and earlier this year the management company issued a section 20 for replacing the communal single-glazed timber windows with "white PVCu doubled-glazed windows", so they have already decided to switch to PVCU.

    My question is, is the £315 fee excessive and should I challenge them on it? I asked the surveyor and he said they are "taking the mickey" and "it's a money making exercise for them".

    #2
    The fee is excessive, unless it is specified in the lease. Some freeholders have a business model that depends on this sort of fee.

    However, flats do not have permitted development rights, so you will have to pay a significant amount for planning consent, unless your council has a local exception to this rule.

    Also note that uPVC windows are likely to make condensation and mould worse. The old wooden frames were probably quite leaky, so contributed to ventilation of the rooms. Also, the water tended to condense on the glass, whereas it will now condense on the walls. You need to address the root causes of the condensation.

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