Freeholder making alterations

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    Freeholder making alterations

    The freeholder to our building has recently been purchased along with the leasehold to the shop at the front, there are 4 flats behind the shop separated by a communal area, only residents have access to the communal area.

    The new freeholder has made direct access from the shop to the communal area with a new door. Does he have the right to do this without any form of consultation of the leaseholders. Myself and another leaseholder have acquired the RTM so don't know if this makes a difference?

    Secondly, the freeholder wishes to do improvement works to this area, presumably to use this space in conjunction with the shop. Obviously unless myself and the other RTM director agree to this the leaseholders can't be liable for any costs, is that correct? Can a freeholder do works without our consent.

    Further to this, the freeholder is going to potentially be using the shop, do they have any rights to access to the communal area, which previously was only for residents?


      The first (and potentially final) consideration for any question like this is:
      "What do the leases say?"

      You definitely need to check your leases, but you should probably also get hold of a copy of the lease for the shop (if there is one, you should be able to buy a copy from the Land Registry for less than ten quid).

      Whether the shop has any rights of access to the communal area, and whether the freeholder has any right to make alterations/improvements are things that are likely to be mentioned in the leases. Whether or not the shop lease requires service charge contributions for maintenance of the communal area may be an important consideration, but not necessarily a decisive one.
      The leases will also answer whether or not leaseholders are required to contribute towards 'improvements' (although even if the lease allows this, it may be possible to contest improvements that are only for the benefit of the shop if they never had access to the communal area).

      If you have RTM, that is likely to be a very important consideration, because that would usually mean that the right to authorise any alterations has been taken away from the freeholder and it is now the RTM Company who get to give authorisation.
      The new freeholder may not properly understand their rights and responsibilities. Alternatively, they might understand them very well and know what they can get away with even if it is to the detriment of other leaseholders. Either way, you may be looking at problems in the future.


        Thanks for the comments. So this I believe is the relevant part of the shops lease (attached)

        This would seem to only apply if the shop currently had access, which it doesn't. But once the access is made directly from the shop to the common parts does this now apply?

        I understand that through the RTM we act as landlord on most duties, including alterations with the freeholder being able to object within a time period.

        If the freeholder goes ahead regardless with this alteration what powers (if any) does the rtm and other leaseholders have to object to this?

        I'm extremely worried as 2 of my front windows to my ground floor flat will have their privacy affected by this new door and this will no doubt affect the value of my flat.

        I feel at the moment from all the reading I have done pretty powerless to do anything.

        Attached Files


          This is something that you will probably need to get proper legal advice about (from someone who understands RTM as well as leasehold law).

          I would think that the clause you quote would give the tenant of the shop, and any customers, the right to pass through the communal area to access the shop via the new door - but that they would have had no right of access to the communal area previously if there was no access to the shop through the communal area.

          This will probably come down to whether or not the freeholder could put the door in without authorisation from the RTM company, and whether or not the RTM company can now insist that the property is put back to the way it was.


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