Moving waste pipe and kitchen in a leasehold with absent/bankrupt freeholder

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    Moving waste pipe and kitchen in a leasehold with absent/bankrupt freeholder

    Hi there, I've recently bought a property at auction from a leaseholder who had gone into administration. However, the leaseholder was also the same name as the freeholder so we believe the freeholder is gone into administration as well. The building clearly hasn't had management for a few years, and there are only 2 other flats currently occupied in the building who are either new or clueless as well. This is our first flat purchase (fun!)

    Anyway, sorting out management on the building will be our big task & big risk from buying from auction, and we anticipate that will take time and collaboration with new leaseholders in similar situation. In the meantime we're renovating the flat so we can move in.

    My question is: we'd like to move the kitchen into the living room to make it open plan, and turn the kitchen into a bedroom. The biggest work would be moving the waste pipe.

    The lease only says we must ask for permission for 'structural and external additions to the property'. Is moving a waste pipe (without affecting joists etc), considered structural? How about relocating radiators and gas line? Is changing the purpose of a room (ie kitchen to bedroom) structural?

    I have been reading similar threads and the advice is always to ask the freeholder but with the freeholder in administration, the building is a bit of 'wild west' right now – there is no one to ask. We're unlikely to be able to unpick this for some time. My inclination is to just go ahead with this work assuming it's not considered structural.

    Thoughts?

    #2
    You might want to get some rental valuations for doing this work & for leaving it alone, before you go to the trouble. If it's £50 to £100 pcm extra, is it really worth the hassle?

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      #3
      If your flat is above ground floor level you may need to consider the juxtaposition of the rooms. Having a washing machine go into its final spin at 1200 rpm will not be appreciated by someone whose bedroom is underneath.

      If the freehold is sold on to an external investor and you then come to sell the flat you will need retrospective consent for the new layout. The argument that nobody was there to grant consent when you need it does not give you the green light to make changes

      I would concur with JKO and question whether the additional rent is worthwhile




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        #4
        Originally posted by JK0 View Post
        You might want to get some rental valuations for doing this work & for leaving it alone, before you go to the trouble. If it's £50 to £100 pcm extra, is it really worth the hassle?
        The OP wants to live there themselves, not a rental.

        Is there not an Administrator currently appointed? They would be the acting current Freeholder?

        I concur with the above with regards relocating rooms and would check the layout of the flats above and below before doing so. Really isn't fun living with neighbours you have disputes with I can tell you.

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          #5
          Originally posted by KeepTheFaith View Post

          The OP wants to live there themselves, not a rental.

          Is there not an Administrator currently appointed? They would be the acting current Freeholder?
          Any alterations carried out without the correct permission would still be a potential issue when the flat came to be sold.
          Trying to sell a flat without a freeholder, particular if the property needs maintenance that the freeholder should arrange, could also be a problem though, so sorting out who owns the freehold should be made a priority.

          It may be possible to buy the freehold from the administrator (if there is one).

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            #6
            I suppose that it's also worth confirming that the freehold hasn't been sold with the leasehold.
            Did the auction state that it was a leasehold flat?

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              #7
              Moving the waste pipe and installing a kitchen in a different room may also need building control.

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you for the responses everyone, really appreciate it.

                Originally posted by Macromia View Post

                Any alterations carried out without the correct permission would still be a potential issue when the flat came to be sold.
                Trying to sell a flat without a freeholder, particular if the property needs maintenance that the freeholder should arrange, could also be a problem though, so sorting out who owns the freehold should be made a priority.

                It may be possible to buy the freehold from the administrator (if there is one).
                I guess this gets to the core of it. The lease says we need permission for 'structural and external changes to the property'. That's all it says. It's a rather vague clause, though common from my research so far. I'd say we aren't touching the structure (not removing walls, not drilling joists, etc.) so I interpret that to be we don't need permission.

                The administrators are acting on behalf of the freeholder, yes, but are impossible to get hold of and when we did get in touch during the sale they were all but unresponsive. Yes, getting the freehold legalities sorted out is a top priority, but I anticipate will take time and collaboration with new owners of the other flats as and when they get auctioned/bought. We did buy the leasehold only.

                I can try it again with to get permission via the administrators, but I wonder whether it's even necessary given the nature of the work and the clause in our lease. I will try though but have low expectations.

                Double checking the building regs is on my todo list for tomorrow!

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