Converting front garden into a driveway.

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    Converting front garden into a driveway.

    Hello,

    I purchased my ground floor flat last year, its a converted house with 3 flats in. It has a small front garden which is 100% mine within the lease, but it is large enough that it would fit a car on it.

    The 'Garden' right now it just patchy weeds.

    My question is, am I allowed (in relation to the lease) to have the garden paved over then, subsequently, park my car on it and use it as a driveway?

    So far as i can see within my lease, there is nothing stopping me from doing this.

    Just wondering if this issue is something that anyone has come across before?

    Thankyou in advance for any thoughts on this

    #2
    You would need the freeholders permission for a start, and if they allow you then they will probably want payment for that.

    Comment


      #3
      thanks for your reply.

      What would they specifically need payment for? The fact that it's going to be used as a driveway or because I am changing the front garden from grass (solid and weeds) to paving?

      thanks

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ForumFirstTimer View Post
        What would they specifically need payment for?
        They may not "need" payment. It depends on what the lease says. There are three possibiities:

        · The lease says nothing about making alterations or additions or. if it does, the changes you propose are not covered. In that case you can go ahead without asking the landlord.

        · The lease contains a clause which prohibits making the changes you propose without the landlord's consent. In that case the landlord's consent must not be unreasonably withheld. The landlord cannot charge a premium, only demand a payment if the changes reduce the value of his interest. He can though recover his costs in connection with the consent.

        · The lease contains a clause which absolutely prohibits making the changes you propose. In that case you either meet the landlord's demands or abandon your project.

        If you set out in full the alterations clause in your lease we can comment on what the landlord is entitled to ask for.

        Bear in mind that you may need planning permission and/or to apply for a dropped kerb.

        Comment


          #5
          I think paving could be argued to be a normal use of a garden, (bearing in mind it will need to be permeable anyway for building regs) If the other 2 flats aren't going to complain then I'd be inclined to just do it.
          What's the worst that can happen....

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for your reply, It doesn't seem to mention anything about the outside of the building. The alteration clause says:

            "3. Not to to make any alterations in or additions to or cut maim or injure any of the walls or timbers of the demised premises or any part thereof or remove any of the Landlords fixtures without the previous consent in writing of the Lessors to the plans and specifications thereof."

            Comment


              #7
              Is there a fence or wall that would need removing to create vehicle access? That may need freeholder permission.

              As already said planning permission would be required along with paying the council a lot of money for the dropped kerb and a 'stronger' driveway across the pavement. May also need changes to the road's parking/yellow lines. Any hard surface within your garden may need to either have its own surface water drainage or be constructed of free draining materials, ie gravel or block pavers.

              Comment


                #8
                "Demised premises" will include the garden.

                The wording is somewhat ambiguous. Whilst it is clear that you must not cut maim or injure any of the walls or timbers of the demised premises, it is not clear whether (a) you are not to to make any alterations in or additions to any of the walls or timbers of the demised premises or (b) you are not to to make any alterations in or additions to the demised premises. Another way to put it is to ask if the text is to be read with commas: Not to to make any alterations in or additions to, or cut maim or injure any of the walls or timbers of, the demised premises. The general rule is that any ambiguity is resolved in favour of the tenant, but the provision is not obviously ambiguous.

                Whatever the position, I am inclined to go with post 5, subject to checking the planning position. If you do need planning permission bear in mind that the lease may require the landlord's approval or notice of the application and/or notice of the grant.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Interesting take. Effectively, does that mean that in the rear garden, which is currently grass, you would not be allowed to plant flowers, put down paving stones, even change fences?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    First, I think you have to apply the de minimis rule with a good dash of common sense. If the demise includes a garden you have to be allowed to mow the grass, grow flowers and vegetables and plant bushes. Planting large trees in a small garden might be a grey area. You also need to be able to do the sort of thing many people do in gardens such as put up a washing line or rotary drier, make a rockery, lay a path and repair fences.

                    Secondly, you have to ask what, in the context of a long lease of residential property, "alterations and additions" is intended to refer to. I think it has to be taken to involve what would the man in the street would refer to as building works, perhaps including structures such as sheds and greenhouses. Having the garden paved over is a something of a grey area between laying a path to get to the washing line and building an extension.

                    If you have a good reference library nearby they should a have a copy of the multi-volumed Words and Phrases Legally Defined. Look up "building", "structure", "alterations" and "additions".

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