Retrospective License For Alteration Consent Fees

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    Retrospective License For Alteration Consent Fees

    I am a co-landlord and also live in my 1 bed flat - my underlying lease has 997 years left on it - the entire property is held in a Declaration Of Trust between the 4 landlords - I carried out some alterations a couple of years ago by changing my internal floorplan to create an open plan kitchen and gained verbal consent from my other co-landlords. The clauses of my Lease that are in 'breach' are:

    "8.2 – Not to make any internal, non-structural alteration or addition to the Property, or alteration to the plan, design or elevation of the Property, without the prior written consent of the Landlord, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed”

    “8.3 – Not to install, alter the route of, damage or remove any Service Media at the Property, without prior written consent of the Landlord , Such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed”

    Schedule 4, paragraph 10.2 (Water Pipe materials)
    “10.2 – To keep in good repair and watertight condition all water pipes, wastepipes, baths, showers, sinks, lavatories and all appliances and equipment which use or contain water and regularly inspect the same and to ensure that no water escapes from the Property”

    Schedule 5, line 17 (Floor Coverings)
    "Not to live in the Property unless all floors (other than in the kitchen and bathroom) are covered in good quality carpeting and underlay or with other effective sound deadening material and not to replace the floor coverings existing at the date of this Lease except with those which provide sound transfer reduction values of 4 decibels for impact noise and 18 decibels for airborne noise transfer"

    The issue being consent was not gained prior in writing. I have submitted all the certificates and warranties of all the work carried out but now whilst trying to obtain retrospective consent the other co-landlords have instructed solicitors wanting an undertaking starting with £3000 +VAT and will need a surveyor report and I fear how much that'll cost me given the excessive solicitor fees... my Lease states regarding the Landlords reasonable fees:

    "Schedule 4 paragraph 7 Costs
    To pay to the Landlord on demand the costs and expenses (including any solicitors’, surveyors’ or other professional fees, costs and expenses and any VAT on them) reasonably and properly incurred by the Landlord (both during and after the end of the Term) in connection with or in contemplation of any the following:
    7.1 the enforcement of any of the Tenant Covenants
    7.5 any consent applied for under this Lease, whether or not It is granted"

    I appreciate I need to go through the process of gaining retrospective consent but is there anyway of limiting the excessive fees I am being quoted doesn't seem reasonable at all - any advice would be greatly appreciated - thanks!

    The issue being consent was not gained prior in writing.

    Given that:

    (a) Consent was given orally;

    (b) The other freeholders stood by while you carried out the work;

    (c) The other freeholders have waited two years to go to a solicitor;

    I think that a court would overlook the technicality that the consent was not given in writing.

    You do of course have the problem that if you want to sell you have nothing in writing. I suggest biding your time and if the other freeholders want anything in the future your price will be a waiver of the technical breach.


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