Serious issue with alterations and selling property

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    Serious issue with alterations and selling property

    Hi everyone,

    First time poster, will try and be as brief as possible, please bear with...

    Have owned ground floor leasehold flat since 2007, have RTM since 2011 as only 2 flats in building including myself.

    I knew nothing of leases or anything like tbh until i have recently decided to sell the flat and now the more I read up about it all the more i am panicking...

    I have done the following changes/alterations to the flat since moving in WITHOUT ANY WRITTEN CONSENT FROM LANDLORD (I appreciate naivety is not an excuse but was a FTB and knew nothing about leases at the time):-

    - Replaced single glaze bay window with double glazed in Lounge
    -Removed rotting back door from kitchen, installed brick wall where door is and replaced single glaze kitchen window with double glazed (there are 2 additional exits to garden still).
    -Every single room has had the walls plastered and painted.
    -Have replaced all kitchen units with new ones as old ones were broken, rotting, old and grubby.
    -Replaced toilet, bath and sink in bathroom as old and worn.
    -Communal hallway has new laminate flooring installed, walls plastered and painted.

    My lease states:-

    "Not at any time during the said term to make any alterations in or additions to the Demised Premises or any part thereof or to cut or maim or alter or injure any of the walls or timbers thereof or to alter the Landlord's fixtures therein without first having made a written application (accompanied by all relevant plans and specifications) in respect thereof to the Lessor and secondly having received the written consent of the Lessor"

    "The Lessee hereby covenants with the Lessor that throughout the term of the lease the lessee will 'put and keep the demised premises and all parts thereof, including so far as the same form part of and within the Demised Premises all windows, doors, locks, fastenings, hinges, sanitary water, gas and electrical apparatus, walls, ceilings, drains, pipes, wires, cables and all fixtures and additions in good and substantial repair and condition.' "

    Having now fully read my lease and various posts on this and other websites I'm quite aware that clearly I seem to have breached my lease multiple times for not gaining consent first.

    My questions are more around what to do now. All the alterations have added value to the property and modernised the property but as of yet the FREEHOLDER/LANDLORD NOWS NOTHING ABOUT ANY ALTERATIONS.

    I presume my best options are to either contact the Freeholder via their Property Agent to explain what I have done anfd that I was unaware I needed written consent (btw the Freeholder has 1000's of properties and is regarded as completely greedy). I can see about getting Indemnity Inusrance to protect the potential Buyer (assuming I can as the Freeholder is not aware of any alterations). I can just go with selling it and see what happens?

    I need to get a lease extension valuation from the Freeholder before I put the property to market and as this requires a valuation I am concerned that they will inspect and notice everything that has been done to improve the property and then limit my options. I was never provided with a list of what was considered fixtures and fittings before moving in so have no idea what documentation the Freeholder will use to determine what should or shouldn't be here.

    Well I did my best to keep it brief

    Any adivce or guidance is gratefully received.

    #2
    You have the followin covernant :

    YOU will ensure all windows, doors, locks, fastenings, hinges, sanitary water, gas and electrical apparatus, walls, ceilings, drains, pipes, wires, cables and all fixtures and additions in good and substantial repair and condition.

    Regarding the following :-

    Please note, replacing like for like because they rotted, fell apart, "should" be o.k. without permission, and often is deemed o.k. to replace, but freeholders permission is usualy required so they know what work is being done to electrics, water pipes, gas and if your works will be safe after completions.
    Same with windows, as you may be altering the exterior walls.

    having said above, my comments are, This should be ok / not ok to proceed, as me having current control of freeholders responsibilites, therefore have some idea as to what a freeholder would allow / not allow.

    - Replaced single glaze bay window with double glazed in Lounge
    If straight forward swap, freeholder may not be interestred, and if it were me, i would not bother to tell freeholder on such a small item ( but you are covenanted to keep windows in good order)

    -Removed rotting back door from kitchen, installed brick wall where door is
    This is debateable. You could try to ignor it, but probably if freeholder finds out, you can be ordered to knock down the bricks and install a new door. ( but on your side is 2 additional exits to garden )

    and replaced single glaze kitchen window with double glazed

    If straight forward swap, freeholder may not be interestred, and if it were me, i would not bother to tell freeholder on such a small item ( but you are covenanted to keep windows in good order)

    -Every single room has had the walls plastered and painted.
    you are covenanted to keep walls in good order ( interior walls ) so should be o.k. not to mention

    -Have replaced all kitchen units with new ones as old ones were broken, rotting, old and grubby
    Provided the layout has not changed and all water and gas pipes are still in original positions, should be o.k. not to mention, but freeholder is entitles to inspect to ensure a good job has been done, but not many bother.
    .
    -Replaced toilet, bath and sink in bathroom as old and worn.
    Provided the layout has not changed and all water apipes are still in original positions, should be o.k. not to mention, but freeholder is entitled to inspect to ensure a good job has been done, but not many bother.

    -Communal hallway has new laminate flooring installed, walls plastered and painted.
    Again, this is rnormal maintenence, and freeholder should nopt be bothered.

    I dont think the freeholder, which will be hes agent that inspects, will notice any of what you say that has been altered, except the rear door.

    They will see a nice communal hallway, and a well presented pristine flat.
    I don't think you will have any problems bar the back door.

    However, most on here would tewll you you must observe the lease and get retospective permission, but follow above only if you wish.

    Comment


      #3
      Have owned ground floor leasehold flat since 2007, have RTM since 2011 as only 2 flats in building including myself.

      I knew nothing of leases or anything like tbh until i have recently decided to sell the flat and now the more I read up about it all the more i am panicking
      Now if someone said " I bought a Car and the police are behind me and I really should have found about insurance. And a driving licence" we would all laugh.

      But people take that approach with property and we think its someones fault....Anyhow

      Thank you for posting the lease extract a rare treat.

      The key is demise what is and isn't yours .
      - Replaced single glaze bay window with double glazed in Lounge
      -Removed rotting back door from kitchen, installed brick wall where door is and replaced single glaze kitchen window with double glazed (there are 2 additional exits to garden still).
      if they are within your demise, yours to maintain or replace, then it should pass muster. It does still need consent though that is largely procedural, as long it is properly done, the exterior appearance has not been altered significantly, the lack of exit at the rear, especially in a kitchen, is safe, no planning consent or building regs was required ( or if so, that it was), or that the property has not been devalued by the work.

      -Every single room has had the walls plastered and painted.
      -Have replaced all kitchen units with new ones as old ones were broken, rotting, old and grubby.
      -Replaced toilet, bath and sink in bathroom as old and worn.
      Again not issues that should be an issue subject to the above
      -Communal hallway has new laminate flooring installed, walls plastered and painted.
      Depends on the definition of wall and if includes plaster. The Flooring might be an issue as most leases stipulate particular flooring such as carpeting, "for verily they are the devils floorboards". yes even if you are ground floor a hard floor reflects noise which causes nuisance to others, not just the mice underneath.


      As to the lease renewal, you might if the others didn't notice and wont get involved pretend that the door was already done but its much easier to get all your paperwork together and see what they say if anything. You don't have to proudly mention or discuss how much you did, you, for all they know, may have bought it like that. In these cases the trick is to let your cleaner show the valuer round and she says " I know nothing" as Manuel used to say.

      While it is likely to come up, frankly it might not, so why invite it, just be prepared if it does.
      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


        #4
        Many thanks to you both for your responses. I think I will have to take my chances and see what the Freeholder or agent says when inspecting.

        My final question was just around Indemnity Insurance, is this something I should be consi9dering and if so do I need to have this sorted before the Freeholder is aware of any alterations?

        Many Thanks

        Comment


          #5
          1. You should buy a copy of the freehold title from Land Registry and check when the freehold title was last purchased.

          2. Your conveyancing solicitor will advise if you have any need to buy indemnity insurance .

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ms29zippy View Post
            My final question was just around Indemnity Insurance, is this something I should be considering and if so do I need to have this sorted before the Freeholder is aware of any alterations?
            I doubt that you could get it given the circumstances "do you know if there are claims or likely claims".
            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

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