Need licence/consent from freeholder for installing new boiler?

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    Need licence/consent from freeholder for installing new boiler?

    Hi all,

    I live in a flat with a leasehold for 125 years. It has a conventional boiler and a hot water cylinder but I decided to replace them with a combi boiler.

    The only clause in the lease related to alteration says:

    "NOT to make any structural alteration or alteration to the interior layout in the Demised Premises without the prior written approval of the Company or its Surveyors to the plans and specifications thereof such approval as regards the Company not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed and to make such alterations only in accordance with such plans and specifications when approved and in a good substantial and workmanlike manner with sound and proper materials. The Purchaser shall at his own expense obtain all licences planning permissions and other things necessary for the lawful carrying out of such alterations and shall comply with all byelaws regulations and conditions applicable generally or to the specific works undertaken"

    Although I am not a legal expert but to me changing a boiler is not alterating structure or the interior layout so my first thought was that no consent is required. However to be on the safe side I still requested for one. I asked for consent from the landlord (company A) through the management company (company B). I have already paid £110 admin fee and company came back saying a letter licence is required and another £300 is required because:

    "At the current moment, your property has a boiler and a water tank. You are wanting to remove both installations and install a new combi boiler that does not require a water tank. These are improvements to your demise area and all improvements carried out to the property are considered to be alterations. If you are repairing and replacing, it can only be done on a like-for-like basic. What you remove is what you would be required to replace and it will need to be of the same specification or similar. As these works are not of a similar replacement, this would require landlord consent for the works to continue."

    Can I just ignore them and go ahead assuming that no consent is required at all?

    If I do need a consent, is it reasonable to pay £410, or even more, assuming they come back for another reason?

    Thanks & regards,
    hhy

    #2
    What is the £300 for? Consent to be given?

    Comment


      #3
      How do you think theft by freeholders works? This is the flavour of it.
      If you do not pay your flat will become unsaleable.

      I suggest you take the matter to the FTT for adjudication. That is probably the only way to stop these crooks. Or better still don't buy a leasehold flat ever unless you factor the thievery into the cost....

      Comment


        #4
        can you use the same flue hole? This is on the face of it ridiculous, what they are asking you for; but be very careful about position of the flue for the boiler. People dont like new flues appearing within a metre of an opening window. its illegal. if you are using the same flue I would just go ahead

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
          can you use the same flue hole? This is on the face of it ridiculous, what they are asking you for; but be very careful about position of the flue for the boiler. People dont like new flues appearing within a metre of an opening window. its illegal. if you are using the same flue I would just go ahead
          I agree this is probably a good strategy (or OP should not have asked in the first place) - but the way the abuse happens is that when OP tries to sell it will be flagged up as an un-approved modification, and blackmail will take place. Even worse FH will use the tool to drive down the price, and purchase the lease themselves via a surrogate.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by SouthernDave View Post
            What is the £300 for? Consent to be given?
            I suppose so. Although they called it "letter licence".

            Comment


              #7
              flyingfreehold,

              Already discussed with my contractor and he confirmed the flue hole can be re-used. I believe this will not breach the lease by any means.

              Comment


                #8
                AndrewDod,

                Assuming I just go ahead and re-use the flue, can the FH still blackmail me?

                Comment


                  #9
                  If the wording in your lease does not state "freeholder consent" is required to replace the gas boiler, then you should demand the £110 admin fee be refunded.

                  If it is refused , then enter a claim for £110 + court fee to the small claims court online.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Wow, never thought that the £110 can be claimed back! No, there's nothing about boiler in the lease. They are just trying to fool me by saying all improvements are considered to be alterations.

                    However I am OK with them taking the £110 TBH as long as they don't try to blackmail me. I do not expect them to refund me because in their website it clearly says:

                    "We charge a non-refundable, initial assessment fee of £110 for flats or £50 for houses to review your request for alterations form. This fee must be paid in full during the application process."

                    Comment


                      #11
                      There is no clause "requiring leaseholders to pay a non-refundable fee" in your lease and therefore the charge of £110 fee is not valid under the lease.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        What does the tenant's repair clause cover?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          hhy,

                          The freeholder (whether via an agent or otherwise) can only charge what the lease says they can charge, not what their website says they can do. These are crooks pure and simple (of the common freeholder type - so not unusual to find crooks in this sector - they need to be driven out).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            AndrewDod Gordon999

                            Unfortunately the lease says so:

                            "To pay to the Company on an indemnity basis all costs fees charges disbursements and expenses (including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing those payable to counsel solicitors surveyors and bailiffs) incurred by the Company in relation or incidental to:-

                            1. every application made by the Purchaser for a consent or licence required or made necessary by provisions of this Lease whether the same be granted or refused proffered subject to any qualification or condition or whether the application be withdrawn

                            2. the preparation and service of a notice under Section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925 or incurred by or in contenplation of proceedings under sections 146 or 147 of that Act notwithstanding that forfeiture is avoided otherwise than by relief granted by the Court

                            3. the recovery or attempted recovery of sums due from the Purchaser and any underlessee or other occupier of the Demised Premises whatsoever

                            AND to keep the Company indemnified against all claims demands and liability in respect thereof"

                            Will never buy a leasehold property again.​​​​​​​

                            Comment


                              #15
                              If you don't move the flue, no alteration.

                              Comment

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