RTM Alterations to Communal Area

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    RTM Alterations to Communal Area

    I would be grateful for some advice please. I live in a house converted into two flats, one on the ground floor and the other on the first and second floors. We have RTM in place and both leaseholders are directors of the RTM company.

    The front door to the building leads to a communal hallway. In the hallway, there are two doors, the front doors to both flats. the ground floor flat shares an internal wall with the communal hallway. However, the ground floor flat also has a private entrance at the rear, which is much better for the ground floor leaseholder to use due to the layout of the flat. As a result they have a temporary covering over the door in the communal hallway on their side and do not use it to enter their flat.

    The communal hallway is cold. There is no insulation of the walls and the front door to the building is old and draughty. This is not great for the ground floor leaseholder, with the unused flat front door being an obvious weak point in terms of heat loss. They would like to remove the door, permanently seal the doorway by making it part of the wall and then insulate it.

    The lease says that the demised premises include one half of walls which divide the premises with any other flat. It doesn’t specifically mention walls that divide the premises from the common areas. It also says the landlord can make alterations to any part of the building and to “renew and improve” specifically the common areas.

    My questions are:

    1. As the lease doesn’t specifically seem to mention where the demised premises end in relation to the wall, would we assume it is half, as it would be for a wall next to another flat?

    2. Can we, as the RTM company, do this? Obviously the ground floor leaseholder needs to ask our permission to make the changes on her side but altering the landlord’s side would be our call. The lease seems to suggest we can if the landlord can make alterations and improvements but this feels like a fairly big change to remove an access point.

    3. Assuming we can do this without involving the freeholder, what are the legal issues that need to be addressed? Presumably the lease will need to be changed to show the door being removed? The ground floor leaseholder would still need access to the communal hallway to access meters etc. There is also a question mark over whether they have legal access to the rear door which involves them going over property owned by another building.

    4. Is this more trouble than it’s worth?

    Thanks!

    #2
    You HAVE to ask permission of the freeholder... end of !

    You cannot decide to enforce access to the property by trespassing across another building. ( idiotic and illegal thoughts )

    Forget it... totally.

    Comment


      #3
      The right to manage legislation gives us the authority to act as the landlord in the lease, so if the landlord can make alterations, usually so can we.

      As I mentioned in my original post, the ground floor flat already has the private entrance at the back and the door is accessed through a courtyard belonging to another building, it's not as if they've just built it and the leaseholder is walking through other people's front rooms to get to it.

      The legal issue I believe is in relation to the possible absence of an easement for going across the land of the other other property but they are already doing it and so did the previous leaseholder for many years. How is an easement normally agreed?

      Comment


        #4
        The RTM company has the right to manage the service charge account under the lease .

        It can approve requests for minor changes within the demised flat.

        I doubt if the RTM has powers to change the communal areas.

        Comment


          #5
          The RTM legislation allows RTM companies to do whatever the landlord can do in the lease. If we couldn't make changes to parts of the property that weren't in the leaseholders' demise then we wouldn't be able to undertake major works like replacing the roof.

          Does anyone else have a view? It's sounding like we're going to need to discuss with a lawyer but it would be great if someone has some advice that could help is avoid that!

          Comment


            #6
            The RTM has the right to demand service charge payment from the leaseholders to cover maintenance of the building. The maintenance items are written into the lease under section called Lessor covenants.............

            Comment


              #7
              Solicitors charge £250 +VAT per hour. It may be cheaper for you to get advice by joining the FPRA or if you live near Brighton, you could attend meetings by the Leaseholders Association.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by chris1544 View Post
                The RTM legislation allows RTM companies to do whatever the landlord can do in the lease. If we couldn't make changes to parts of the property that weren't in the leaseholders' demise then we wouldn't be able to undertake major works like replacing the roof.
                Replacing the roof is not changing the layout, nor a modification. It's maintenance.
                The lease does not allow you to modify the layout of a flat or common parts belonging to the freeholder without the freeholder's consent.

                Major works such as the roof, one would of course, as a matter of decency, suggest you inform the freeholder, as freeholder owns the roof ( usually ), and state as the leaseholders are paying for it, of course you understand he will have no objection to leaseholders replacing his roof free of charge, but is there anything he would like to incorporate, at a cost to him, while the roof is being replaced.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you for taking the time to respond. Is there anyone out there with a bit more experience with RTM and the legislation etc who might be able to advise please? MrSoffit perhaps?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Send an email enquiry to the Legal Advisor at LEASE ( www.lease-advice.org )

                    Comment

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