Cost of Freeholder permission to replace windows

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    Cost of Freeholder permission to replace windows

    Hello,

    I'm hoping someone can please help, I've recently bought a leasehold maisonette and the windows and patio door need replacing. Believing I needed permission from the freeholder to do this, I've asked the management company and been quoted a fee of over £1700 for a license to alter.

    I am planning on replacing the windows like for like, and changing the patio door to French doors (mine is the only property in the area with patio doors, all others have French doors). The only mention in my lease I can find about freeholder permission is below:
    1. Not to erect or to permit or suffer to be erected on any other building upon the demised premises nor to make or to permit or suffer to be made any alterations in or external projection on the front of or additions to the demised premises or cut maim or injure or permit or suffer to be cut maimed or injured any of the walls or timbers thereof nor construct any gateway or opening in any of the fences bounding the said premises nor stop obstruct or divert any of the wires pipes channels drains sewers or other media as aforesaid upon or over the demised premises without the previous consent in writing of the Lessors
    My questions are, from the above, do I definitely need this permission, as it's a replacement rather than an alteration, and secondly if I do need permission, does this seem a fair price?

    Thanks in advance!

    #2
    What does your lease say about maintenance of the window frames?

    If you are responsible for maintenance, which includes replacement where necessary, there should be no fee for permission to carry out like-for-like replacement of frames that need replacing.

    If the frames are the responsibility of the freeholder, they should arrange for replacement (if required) with the cost split according to the service charge provisions in the lease (+ it might be possible to argue that they haven't met their obligations properly).

    The doors might be different if you are intending to change them because that would be an alteration, but £1700 sounds ridiculously high, and I don't see how they can justify that amount.

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      #3
      Originally posted by Macromia View Post
      £1700 sounds ridiculously high, and I don't see how they can justify that amount.
      It is extortionate.

      Comment


        #4
        Macromia,

        Thanks so much for your reply! Unfortunately there is no mention of window frames in the lease, the only quote I can find about maintaining the property is below:
        1. From time to time and at all times during the said term well and substantially to repair uphold support cleanse maintain drain amend and keep the demised premises (together with the foundations and other parts protecting or supporting the Upper Maisonette and all new buildings which may at any time during the said term be erected on and all additions made to the demised premises and the fixtures thereon and all walls and fences marked "T' (if any) on the said plan and all physical easements and appurtenances of the demised premises.
        It seems from this I am OK to change the windows, as it falls under maintaining the property?

        Comment


          #5
          That single lease clause seems to give you a lot of responsibility for repairs and maintenance, including responsibility for the maintenance of "the foundations and other parts protecting or supporting the Upper Maisonette".

          You should see what the lease describes as "the demised premises", but based on the above I would expect that it includes the entire property up to a level that is halfway between your ceiling and the floor of the "Upper Maisonette" (and probably half of any ways that are shared with other properties, if the maisonettes aren't in a detached building).
          Maintenance of the rest of the property, including the roof, is probably the responsibility of the leaseholder of the "Upper Maisonette" (if I was you, I would get hold of a copy of their lease to confirm their responsibilities).

          This suggests that the freeholder may have no responsibility for maintenance at all and the managing agent will therefore be responsible for nothing except collecting ground rent and perhaps arranging insurance for the building - so you probably shouldn't be paying anything to them as service charges.

          If you are responsible for all repairs, there shouldn't be any need to pay anything at all for permission - especially if the windows and external parts of the property are within your demise, which sounds likely.
          I suspect that even changing the doors wouldn't be something that requires permission under the clause that you quoted in your original post - but Lawcruncher is better placed to give advice regarding that (although might ask for more details of what is in your lease!).

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