Is Freeholder Withholding Consent?

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    Is Freeholder Withholding Consent?


    I was hoping for a bit of expertise and advice about a situation we're currently trying to settle regarding retroactive consent. I am mortgaging a leasehold flat with a long lease that I purchased as a 'fixer-upper'. Prior to commencing the works we contacted the freeholder with all pertinent information regarding the intended improvement works which included the removal to a partition wall (confirmed to be non-structural by our builder).

    The freeholder never provided us with written consent and the last written correspondence we have from him on this subject was that he needed time to investigate- but he never got back to us even years later. We have since completed the works and vastly improved the flat. The freeholder has proven to be very difficult to deal with over the years and my fear is that approaching him for retroactive consent could lead to him trying to enforce forfeiture or simply saying 'no' to our request for retroactive consent... hence making a sale impossible.

    The lease for our flat states that we must seek consent from the landlord for any alterations to the flat including partition walls, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld. My question is: has the freeholder unreasonably withheld consent seeing as how we requested this of him prior to commencing the works? The freeholder has been regularly charging us ground rent and service charges and is aware the works have taken place, although he has not seen the changes in person.

    My understanding is that we cannot sell the flat with indemnity insurance as the freeholder is aware that we wanted to carry out works. Hence our only options are to 1) try and convince a buyer to assume the risk of reverting the flat back to it's previous condition (time-consuming and very unlikely to happen) or 2) to request retroactive consent.

    Can the freeholder withhold consent from us? Have they technically wronged us by not responding to a request we made prior to commencing works? And lastly given that the freeholder is not an easy person to deal with and is well-known to be very money-grubbing and troublesome what's the worst case scenario he can put us in if we approach him for retroactive consent?

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    My advice in virtually all situations is to establish courteous communication.
    Until you ask him/her you will not know what the response will be. It may be that a compromise on your part would save a lot of hassle.
    Approach with caution and then decide your strategy.


      How long ago did you carry out the alterations?


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