Can freeholder impose fine lessee for unauthorised works?

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    Can freeholder impose fine lessee for unauthorised works?

    One of the homeowners in our freehold has made an application for a license for alteration. But since the application, the leaseholder has gone ahead and carried out the work which is of a structural nature.

    Can the freeholder impose a fine and if so, are there statutory limits on what level the fine can be?

    #2
    In short No a fine cant be imposed,

    Everything depends on the Lease, I assume the Lease requires permision from the landlord before any alterations are made, The Landlord has the power to enforce the lease and recover costs regarding this breach,

    I would assume permision for subletting or alteration shall not be unreasonably witheld so if the alterations are ok then a sturn letter instructing the leasee not to do anything like this again without permision would be a breach of contract and further actions may be taken however let it go per say.

    If the works are wrong the landlord can instruct the leasee to return things back and recover administration costs etc in doing so, These costs must be reasonable and charged as per the lease.

    A fine no but full recovery of reasomable costs as to the lease yes.

    Comment


      #3
      Having looked at the plans, the proposed alterations seem fine. The lease does clearly state that consent must be sought from the freeholder before works can be carried out.

      What is a reasonable figure to charge for administration under the circumstances?

      Comment


        #4
        If the works look fine, In my view the freeholder should ok these works even though retrospectivly in this case.

        I assume the freeholder charges a management fee so in my view no additional charge should be made as this is part of the service the leasee is paying for.

        If the freeholder has incurred some additional costs because of this matter then maybe they could be passed on but again only as to the lease and the lease may only allow such costs to be added to the SC rather than direct to the leasee.

        At face value myself I would want to keep relations good and not charge the leasee for things.

        Comment


          #5
          The lessee is in the process of selling his property and so the issue of good relations doesn't really apply.

          Comment


            #6
            I am guessing you are the freeholder and annoyed over this leasee conduct, Fair enough but two wrongs dont make a right,

            If lets say you behave unreasonably yourself and the flat sale falls through its possible this leasee could see a claim foe negligence against the freeholder, Something I wouldnt want to risk myself to.

            you here gangsters say, Whats right is right, I agree in my view just ok this alteration and hope the sale goes through then you take no risk of a claim of negligence against you and you get a new leasee which hopefully wont do any more alterations without your consent.

            I have nothing to gain or lose but you have so think business is business and always do the right thing.

            Just my views dont leave yourself open to anything if this sale fall through.

            Comment


              #7
              One thing landlords do is charge a reasonable fee regarding dealing with flat sales.

              Maybe while oking these works with dealing with the additioinal work with this flatsale an invoice for lets say £150 to the solicitor you are dealing with may work,

              Its not unreasonable in my view and you should probably be paid without fuss, Just an idea

              Comment


                #8
                NO fines- all you could claim is damages.

                If the alterations are of a structural nature then are you confident that you can assess that was proposed, and what was actually done is adequate and proper?

                If not then it would be wise to advise them that they are in breach of the terms of the lease with regard to failing to seek and obtain prior approval
                that you are obligated to advise any purchaser or their solicitors making enquiries ( which they will)
                to resolve this you will require access to the property to have your surveyor and engineer ( if required) to inspect, and in required open up to inspect and
                that they will be responsible for all the landlord's professional fees and costs.

                I suggest that you have your solicitor to write to them to avoid waiver on the right to forfeit if they fail to comply or have done something very silly. I had one who cut out a chimney breast and held it up with 2, 8x2 timbers, "holding up" three floors of chimney breasts and the main chimney.
                Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I agree, a 'fine' is a puntitive measure against someone, I'd suggest you dont use the word. You could possibly claim damages and even then they shouldnt be punitive but just cover your actual incurred costs.

                  Andy
                  Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                  I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                  It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                  Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just updating this thread. The lessee was asked to stop the works at the request of the freeholder until a surveyor had carried out a full inspection and a licence had been issued. But over the weekend, the lessee decided to restart the project without the necessary consent in place. Should the freeholders still be lenient?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by crunchycornflake View Post
                      the lessee decided to restart the project without the necessary consent in place. Should the freeholders still be lenient?
                      No, he had his chance, and decided that the lease he signed to observe, some
                      how does not apply to him.
                      Write, as suggested, and include that as this is the second time he has breached
                      the lease on the same item, that you HAVE instructed solicitors to initiate court
                      proceedings to stop him, and that, as stated in the lease, and I hope it does,
                      he is liable for all your costs in preventing him from continuing.

                      say also, ( and see above about preventing waiving forfiture ) that you will seek
                      forfiture of his flat as he will not observe the lease, which is dangerious due to
                      the structural changes, and he cannot be allowed to continue.

                      He will do NOTHING about all this unless you proceed with court action, tomorrow

                      R.a.M.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi all...I thought I jump on the band wagon rather than start a new thread..Im in a similar situation but the leaseholder. I recently purchased the long leasehold (first time buyer) of a 1st floor victorian flat, contract back the solicitors about to exchange. I plan to carry out minor works before I move in and in accordance to the lease I ased the LL permission, which was fine (before completion). However, during the process of my exchange the FH was sold to a surveying practice and now they want £500 survey fee (£400 report, £100 admin) before I can start the work. I have already paid for a building surveying report and got written confirmation from the BS that the door opening to an internal brick wall will not affect the integrity of the building if carried out in accordance to building regs. I have informed this to my solicitor and in addition that the works will be monitored by the Local Authority and expressed that the fee is unreasonable. The new LL reply was

                        "Sorry but as the landlords have a responsibility to maintain the
                        > structure, they would need ot have their own survey.
                        >
                        > If they do not want to pay the fees, I respectfully suggest they don't do
                        > the works!
                        >
                        > Sorry I cant be of any more help"

                        I really don't want to pay £500, Do I have a case? Are there any case laws to back me up?!

                        Waiting in anticipation!

                        Thanks all in advance

                        Comment


                          #13
                          If the lease requires that you obtain landlords consent for the proposed works, and that the areas are yours to alter, then you must do so, and must pay their fees. Fees must be reasonable and you have statutory protection to refer it to the LVT as to what is reasonable.

                          But frankly, for a licence and 3 inspections, one before hand, one during and one after, it's not a lot.

                          Monitoring by the local authority is for their purposes which differ to those of a landlord.
                          Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Back to the original thread, the freeholder is considering a retrospective licence for alteration as the alternative courses of action seem too time consuming. But I'm unable to locate a specific covenant in the lease which allows specifically for a retro licence. In the absence of such a clause, has the freeholder even got the right to issue one and if one were issued, could the freeholder be sued by any of the other lessees for not respecting the terms of the lease?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by crunchycornflake View Post
                              Back to the original thread, the freeholder
                              is considering a retrospective licence for alteration has the freeholder even got
                              the right to issue one and if one were issued, could the freeholder be sued by
                              any of the other lessees for not respecting the terms of the lease?
                              see post 11 and

                              As the alterations are "Of a structural nature" you cannot issue ANY
                              licence unless the freeholder has proof that the works will be carried out
                              in accordance to building regulations, that the right section and load bearing
                              qualities of the replacement structural items are enough to hold up the
                              building / room / wall etc.

                              Unless the freeholder is a structural Engineer, has seen, understood and approved
                              the conversion mechanics, he cannot issue any licence, or any retrospective
                              licence .
                              He could be sued for failing to ensure the integrity of the building, by issuing
                              a licence when he has no idea if the work done was safe to be done.

                              If you are in a block of flats, and some of you are directors of the Company,
                              you too could be sued for failing in your duties.

                              Issuing a retrospective licence just because it's easy, and costs no money
                              is no defence.
                              Why is it that leaseholders think the lease does not apply to them ?
                              It's because freeholders cant be bothered to uphold the lease.

                              now see post 11.

                              R.a.M.

                              P.S. http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/be...es-d_1311.html
                              P.P.S. A person issuing driving licences cannot just issue one because
                              some just asked for one, they need proof that the person passes the
                              required tests and regulations.
                              Last edited by ram; 21-01-2012, 15:33 PM. Reason: P.S. added + P.P.S. added

                              Comment

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