Freeholder wont give consent for Gas

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    Freeholder wont give consent for Gas

    My current nightmare.
    I bought a flat early in the year, a simple 1 bed lease hold flat in a block with many flats.
    It had a primitive electric system and I always intended to change it.

    When viewing the flat it was apparent several other flats had gas. I checked with the RTM and they said having gas installations inspected once a year was required.

    So, I buy the flat and speak to the gas company for the region, they confirm they can get me a supply, they need a consent form to be signed by the 3rd Party Landowner/Freeholder. Its takes me around 6 weeks to get a response from a very faceless and draconian freeholder. Emails in lease law speak, talking about himself in the 3rd person.

    Cut a long story short all of the other leaseholders who have gas have not had genuine consent. The gas supply firm have been accepting signatures form RTM Directors to put the pipe in, but none of them have License to Alter, the Freeholder was unaware gas was in the building for almost a decade.

    Massive can of worms. I jumped the gun weeks before, began my renovation (nothing structural) and removed the warm air system, I fitted boiler and had everything set for what I thought could never be an issue.

    The freeholder is now in full power mode. He is ‘reserving his position’, he is writing to all other parties, he needs to read over the lease, he ‘cannot grant permission as the works are unsightly’.
    Its taken 2 months to get to this point.
    I move in in a few days, no hot water, no heating, no stove…..what do I do?

    #2
    Does any clause in your lease say gas supply and electricity cannot be used in the flat ?

    .

    Comment


      #3
      No. The freeholder points out 2 clauses, one is a standard 'no alterations or additions without LTA'. The other is way more subjective and unusual, its says i cant do anything that the freeholder deems 'a nuisance'

      Comment


        #4
        There are many many many blocks where gas is , understandably not permitted.
        As the freeholder I would probably not consent and would request removal of those connected already.
        Bearing in mind we will likely see a full ban on fossil fuel heating within a decade you might be better off making other arrangements.
        That being said I wonder if in this case the RTM actually does have the authority to grant the consents? ?

        Comment


          #5
          - Gas in a block of flats? The risks mean this really doesn't happen these days, and I would not be wanting gas anywhere near a block I owned in, I'm stumped as to why you would want it installed.
          - The insurers will be interested in this, with the way fire regs are going for buildngs expect your insurance premiums to sky rocket. One of the first questions from risk assessors, is there gas?
          - You are a leaseholder, you have limited rights and should expect this
          - Those who have installed gas without consent, risk losing their homes, risk alterations that haven't been declared to the insurance company. Are risking it for everyone else.

          Goodness.

          Comment


            #6
            Remember Ronan Point in 1968?

            A gas explosion on the 18th of 22 stories brought down the whole corner of the block killing 4.
            https://www.theguardian.com/society/...lapse-may-1968

            Whilst it was ultimately the building design/construction at fault it also undermined faith of having gas in any block of flats, high or low rise.

            In 2017 Southwark council turned of the gas to 4 high rises over safety fears.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by 88xx View Post
              The freeholder is now in full power mode. He is ‘reserving his position’, he is writing to all other parties, he needs to read over the lease, he ‘cannot grant permission as the works are unsightly’.
              Its taken 2 months to get to this point.
              I move in in a few days, no hot water, no heating, no stove…..what do I do?
              I think that it's unlikely that the freeholder will be able to refuse permission on the grounds that he considers the works to be "unsightly", but it is likely that he could refuse on other grounds.
              If the only objection that he makes is based on how the work affects the appearance of the building, he can't argue that he didn't know that other flats installed gas years ago without admitting that he never inspects the property, or has a managing agent inspect the property for him - otherwise they should have noticed the unsightly alterations.
              Refusal on safety grounds is another matter.

              As for what you can do...
              The answer is: nothing that will enable you to get gas installed before you move in.

              As has been suggested, you may be better off writing off the money you have already spent on installing a boiler and putting electric heating, etc., back in.
              The only possible way out is if the RTM company has the authority to give permission, and freeholder permission is not required - although this assumes that all safety rules will be met.

              It sounds like you might become unpopular with several of your new neighbours!

              Comment


                #8
                If Right To Manage (RTM) is in place then the RTM company will need to authorise this. You will need to write to them requesting permission. They must then write to the Freeholder notifying him of their intention to grant approval and give 30 days notice.

                In that time the Freeholder can object to the approval being granted and in this case it sounds like he probably will. Then, you or the RTM company will need to apply to the tribunal for a determination on the approval. That will obviously take some time.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for all your comments. I am surprised at a lot of the safety concerns over gas. Yes i know everyone jumps to various past incidents. But wasnt Grendfel the cause of faulty electrics?? I have lived in 4 flat blocks, all have had gas. So much more efficient to heat water, cook on. 3 x cheaper and i dont need a big water tank in the cupboard. Where i am Central Heating is an instant plus point to a property across the market.

                  As for the general opinion that is he can refuse, has refused and i can do nothing. What in reality happens now?

                  He cannot discriminate against me. So will the 3 other lessees rip out their pipes, rads, boiler ect and put in electric, at their cost? Is that a realistic outcome here? Some are tenants, one has a baby!


                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by 88xx View Post
                    But wasnt Grendfel the cause of faulty electrics??
                    The initial cause of the fire isn't the main concern from Grenfell, the problem was how fast the fire spread, and in particular how quickly it spread to other levels.
                    New regulations mean that additional consideration has to be given to things like gas flues in high rise blocks (it's potentially worth you Googling those last six words) because of the risk of fires spreading.
                    It may depend how many floors the property has.


                    Originally posted by 88xx View Post
                    I have lived in 4 flat blocks, all have had gas. So much more efficient to heat water, cook on. 3 x cheaper and i dont need a big water tank in the cupboard. Where i am Central Heating is an instant plus point to a property across the market.
                    These may all be valid arguments, but none of them mean that you have to be given permission.


                    Originally posted by 88xx View Post
                    As for the general opinion that is he can refuse, has refused and i can do nothing. What in reality happens now?
                    That's up to you.
                    You can try and argue that the freeholder's refusal is unreasonable, but there is no guarantee of success (and it may depend on the exact wording of your lease).
                    You could also decide to go ahead and have gas installed anyway - but if you do you may find yourself defending against forfeiture proceedings, which could be expensive even if you eventually win.


                    Originally posted by 88xx View Post
                    He cannot discriminate against me. So will the 3 other lessees rip out their pipes, rads, boiler ect and put in electric, at their cost? Is that a realistic outcome here? Some are tenants, one has a baby!
                    There is no reason why the outcome has to be the same for all leaseholders.
                    You have asked for permission and it has been refused.
                    I would expect the freeholder to also require the other leaseholders who have installed gas to have it removed, but that is not guaranteed to be the outcome if they take the matter to court.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I suggest you follow the advice I gave above - apply to the RTM company and follow the procedure for approvals when an RTM company is in place. As I said, it sounds like the Freeholder will object, so you will need to go to tribunal for a determination.

                      Unfortunately it isn't going to be quick to sort out and as Macromia says, I can't see it being ironed out before you move in, not least because of the 30 days notice the RTM company has to give the Freeholder.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by 88xx View Post
                        Cut a long story short all of the other leaseholders who have gas have not had genuine consent. The gas supply firm have been accepting signatures form RTM Directors to put the pipe in, but none of them have License to Alter, the Freeholder was unaware gas was in the building for almost a decade.
                        It sounds as though this RTM Co. doesn't know what it is doing. RTM Co. Directors signatures count for absolutely nothing if the RTM Co. has not first served notice of alteration on the freeholder and waited the requisite 30 days before granting consent. If (as you say) none of the 3x errant leaseholders have licence to alter, then the RTM Co. clearly did not do what it should have done. Both the leaseholders and the RTM Co. could find themselves being litigated against by the freeholder (the leaseholder for breach of lease and the RTM Co. for breach of duty). The only thing you can do now is pray that the RTM Co. has a robust Directors and Officers insurance policy in place. This litigation could prove to be very costly ...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Section20z View Post
                          That being said I wonder if in this case the RTM actually does have the authority to grant the consents? ?
                          That'll be a big fat 'no'. The RTM is not entitled to grant consent without first serving notice of alteration on the freeholder and giving the freeholder 30 days to consider the notice and copy documents. This clearly was not done in this case, therefore the RTM Co. was not entitled to grant the consents ...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            My guess is that the freeholder doesn't gaf about whether gas is installed, but is annoyed about losing out on a nice chunk of money for consent. I'm sure that if you and your naughty neighbours offer to generously grease his palms, all objections will magically disappear.

                            BTW, I'm surprised the lease doesn't give consent for utilities. Often gas is consented to even when there is none. Have you read it?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                              I'm sure that if you and your naughty neighbours offer to generously grease his palms, all objections will magically disappear.
                              Maybe. But maybe not. We had a leaseholder offer to generously grease our palms to 'overlook' the fact that he had altered his 1 bed flat into a 2 bed flat prior to his sale, in breach of the lease and without seeking prior permission or license to alter. We only found about the breach because we requested an internal inspection in order to complete the leasehold property enquiries form for his imminent sale. We made it very clear to said leaseholder that we did not want his bribe; we were more interested in maintaining the integrity of the building; pointed out the fact that the 2nd bedroom fell very short of the minimum room sizes given by building regs; pointed out that this would be an overdevelopment of the site - which is a block of 1 bed flats. We explained that the only thing that we were interested in was getting the flat reinstated as a 1 bed prior to the leaseholder selling it on - which said leaseholder promptly did, once he realised we were not impressed by his antics.

                              I think that freeholders get too much bad press (as do landlords, by the way). Not all freeholders/landlords are bad eggs. We just hear about the bad ones more often as these are the ones that make the newspaper headlines ...

                              Comment

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