Retrospective Licence to Alter - New Freeholder

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    Retrospective Licence to Alter - New Freeholder


    I’m a leaseholder in the process of selling a flat I purchased in 2015. After purchasing the property I had new double glazed windows put in. I asked the Managing Agent what process to follow and they advised an email confirmation of consent from the Freeholder would be sufficient. They provided this after I forward the plans of the new windows.

    in 2017, the Freeholder and Managing Agent changed. On selling the property, the new Managing Agent has stated I need a Retrospective Licence to Alter as Freeholder consent has not been given. I’ve forwarded the historical emails showing previous consent, but they are not budging!

    The total costs I have incurred to the Managing Agent in the sale are:

    Management Pack: £750
    Licence to Assign: £200
    Deed of Covenant: £300
    Retrospective Licence to Alter: £750

    I feel like I’m being completely screwed over here, as did everything at the time the previous Managing Agent advised.

    My solicitor has tried discussing with them, but they are not budging. Do I have any way of legally challenging these fees?

    Thanks in advance.

    You wont have any recourse on the fees, but the retrospective licence seems strange, and ask them where in the deeds or contract they can go back and charge for something which previously was granted.

    I would also contact or other organisation to get a second opinion. Also to avoid your sale falling through sell up and move on.


      Thanks, I’ve already spoken with lease-advice, they weren’t that helpful unfortunately. Just want to get the place sold so can buy a freehold and not have to deal with this sort of issue again.

      My solicitor challenged them on the point you made, but hasn’t changed their stance.


        Has the managing agent given a reason for this? Do they think that the emails you have from the first freeholder don't legally constitute consent to alter or are they saying that you need a second consent from the new freeholder? If its the latter I can't see that they would have a case as I think that the new freeholder would have 'stepped into the shoes' of the previous one and therefore have no basis to challenge previous consent.


          Unless the lease specifically lays out how consent has to be requested or given, there's no reason for retrospective permission to be required.

          On the other hand, the Managing Agent has you over a barrel, and are, from the looks of it, being screwed over.
          But the freeholder and agent have no incentive to back down and you, from the sound of it, need this sorted to sell.

          So I suspect you're in the right, but may have to just suck it up (and move on).

          I'd talk to your solicitor about how you might recover the fees once you are no longer in the weaker position.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


            Thanks everyone for your help. I think I’ll just have to pay it and will then follow up with my solicitor afterwards regarding any possible recover.


              Hi again everyone,

              So it turns out the £750 was the fee to draft the Retrospective Licence to Alter. The actual they they are charging me is £3,500. This is outrageous.

              We challenged them stating this is surely a typo as the £750 more than covers everything, their response was:

              ӣ750 was the costs to produce the License to Alter.

              £3500 is not a premium. We are advised that these are the costs of the Freeholder in relation to the document which needs to be paid by your client. This covers them to review, examine and approve the document. They will require this prior to execution of the document.”

              For reference the managing agent and freeholder both reside at the same address when I checked Companies House. Pretty sure it’s the same family.

              Can anyone advise what I can do? As I really need to exchange and complete by the 18th Dec.

              Thanks very much


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