Can landlord redefine "demised property" unilaterally?

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    Can landlord redefine "demised property" unilaterally?

    Firstly, thanks to all on the forum for their posts - the other threads on this site have been very useful to us recently.

    My wife and I are the leaseholders of a flat, which includes in its "Demised Property" one garage in a set of three at the side of the building. We recently received notice from the freeholder's architect that he plans to pull down the three garages and replace them with four new ones.

    The three current garages are pretty grotty, so we've no real objection in principle. But we've been told no details, and the freeholder has previously tried to build extra garages on the front garden to "house his classic cars" when he lives miles away in London! Fortunately we live in a Conservation Area and planning permission was turned down. But anyway, it's left us a little suspicious as to how the new garages will be allocated and used.

    In particular, I was wondering whether we as leaseholders had any rights to:

    - be consulted on the works before planning permission was sought

    - one garage (or maybe one and a third??) in the new set of four

    - stop the works if we feel they would devalue the property

    - negotiate how much of the cost we should bear (if any), particularly if the freeholder will be granted the extra garage

    It just strikes me as a little silly if the freeholder can effectively knock down part of the property which we lease, without consulting us in the first instance. Apart from anything else, he could be wasting a lot of his money employing architects etc if we could then object at a later stage.

    Does anyone on the forum know much about these issues?

    Many thanks in advance for your help.

    #2
    Read your lease, it probably has a Clause like this one.

    For quiet enjoyment
    That the Lessee shall and may peaceably hold and enjoy the Flat during the said term without any lawful interruption or disturbance by the Landlord or any person rightfully claiming under or in trust for the landlord.


    This will prevent him doing anything to your demised property without your express permission. However there may be other clauses which he can make use of.

    First take photographs and measurements of your garage, the new garage will have to be exactly the same measurements in all respects. That includes where it is placed.

    Comment


      #3
      Alterations By Landlord

      What you own is a leasehold interest in flat/garage as "demised property".

      L cannot alter it unless you agree or lease says so.

      If you want, you could agree (BY A DEED) alteration of demised property extent. Lease itself cannot easily be altered, so new Deed might be a deemed surrender and re-grant.

      Your mortgagee (lender) will also need to be involved. Mortgage will limit your power to alter, and a Deed of Substituted Security might be necessary.

      All costs should be paid by L, not by you, as entire scheme is for L's benefit.
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

      Comment


        #4
        Donkin / Jeffrey

        Many thanks for your replies; very helpful.

        Looking at the lease, there is just such a clause in it, so I should think we're on firm ground to say "no" if the plans look unsuitable; I can't see any extra clauses granting more power to the freeholder.

        Therefore I'm thinking of waiting till the plans are available at the Town Hall and seeing whether they're appropriate or not. It's really the lack of consultation that has surprised me; but, given the fairly restrictive planning environment where we are (no bad thing, I hasten to add), perhaps he is simply waiting to get permission before raising these issues with the leaseholders.

        I shall call the freeholder tomorrow and see what he says...

        Thanks again for your help.

        Comment


          #5
          A quick update having spoken to the freeholder just now...

          Apparently, I've misinterpreted the architect's letter - the plan is to build four new garages AND replace the existing three. (I'd read this as "replace the existing three with four new ones".) The freeholder has stated that:

          - there will be no charge to us for the works, including tidying up the messy bit of land on that side of the house.
          - the four new garages will be used to store his cars.
          - all the leaseholders of the garage can say "no" at any point and he'd fully understand, although he thinks we're getting a good deal out of it.

          Not really related to leasehold questions, but in case you're curious here are my thoughts on this:

          I'm not too sure what to make of the whole offer, really - on the one hand, the garden is tidied up and we get a new garage, all at no expense to us. On the other hand, the freeholder is basically asking for the right to park four cars on the land that was previously our garden (admittedly, an overgrown and scruffy bit of the garden).

          So as far as I can see, we get a half-decent deal, the freeholder gets a very good deal.

          I'll be interested to see whether planning permission's granted, since I'd have thought that seven garages on one house is somewhat out of character. The freeholder reckons the local authority will be fine with this, but I'm not so sure, having read the Conservation Area's objectives for improvements. I guess if the council is happy in this respect, then presumably the works will add value overall.

          Well, they're my thoughts. If any interesting issues about the lease arise out of this, I'll post some more. But I thought some people might be interested in the above anyway!

          Thanks again for your input.

          Comment


            #6
            A Good Deal?

            Well, only if you come out ahead (eg better and tidier layout, no costs faling on you, and - perhaps - L giving you a lump of money as a sweetener).
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment


              #7
              Covenant breaches but little freeholder action

              Hi all.

              Firstly, just a quick update on the situation above. Then another question to raise, which perhaps I ought to put in another thread - let me know if you think so, and I'll repost it anew.

              On the new garages front, we've had a look at the plans, together with the other leaseholders. They involve moving our garages by 90 degrees and building a new block of four garages that is two stories high, taking over a large part of the back garden. Although I think we can turn around and say "no" even after planning permission is granted, we've written to the council to object to permissions being given in the first place, just to make sure.

              I suspect this is liable to antagonise our freeholder, but I don't think we're being unreasonable - I really feel we should have been consulted in the first instance on this before he applied for permission, and making the garages harder to access simply so that the freeholder can get an extra set of garages in for his use seems (to me) rather cheeky.

              Given the number of freeholders who post on this site, please let me know if you think we're being unreasonable here; the last thing I want to do is pick a fight with our freeholder over something that others would consider reasonable. I'd welcome any views (even if they're contrary to my own!).


              On another note, a new-ish (last 9 months) neighbour is busy breaking several covenants of the lease (pets, adding aerials to the outside of the building, parking scooters in the back garden, dumping old fridges down the side of the house, etc). We have recently mentioned this to the freeholder and managing agent, but nothing has happened so far. The new neighbour happens to be good friends with the freeholder, so I don't know whether this impacts the situation.

              If the freeholder doesn't do anything to prevent these breaches, do the other leaseholders have any options? Our leases seem to put an obligation on the freeholder to enforce the convenants, so I presume so?

              Thanks as always for your help.

              Comment


                #8
                With regard to your original enquiry about relocating the garage block, your situation does not seem to have changed that much. Members have already indicated that you and your fellow lessees are within your rights to say no. Write a letter to the freeholder with a copy to the council, get all the lessees to sign it and just say "NO".

                Keep it simple. Please start a new thread for your suspected breach of lease situation.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                  With regard to your original enquiry about relocating the garage block, your situation does not seem to have changed that much. Members have already indicated that you and your fellow lessees are within your rights to say no. Write a letter to the freeholder with a copy to the council, get all the lessees to sign it and just say "NO".

                  Keep it simple. Please start a new thread for your suspected breach of lease situation.
                  Leysjeh: I agree with Poppy. If L wants it so much, tell him "Show us the money".
                  JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                  1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                  2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                  3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                  4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                  Comment

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