What is considered a reasonable waiting time for consent to alterations

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    What is considered a reasonable waiting time for consent to alterations

    I am currently waiting for approval on a loft conversion from my landlord and would like to understand my rights and what is considered a 'reasonable' amount of time to wait for a response.

    I have 130+ year lease on my flat in a converted school house. I bought the loft area above my flat from the landlord 2 years ago and the new lease agreement stated I needed approval from the landlord before any works could be carried out in the new space (I don't have exact wording but it was something like they cannot be 'unreasonably withheld').

    I have been meticulous about preparing for the proposed works and have used a reputable architect, structural engineering firm, building control, etc. I also have received planning permission from the city council.
    This entire part of the process took almost 8 months but as the landlord had a formal procedure for asking for approval I wanted to ensure I had everything arranged in a very detailed application package with as much pre-planned information as possible. I had also met with the building management company and had them onboard for how the works would be carried out to cause minimal disruption to the other tenants.

    They landlord will not speak directly to me and only communicates through a rather cantankerous solicitor. The solicitor told me they would only consider my application if I pay all of their fees. They would start the work when I deposited a rather large sum of money into their account which would act as a deposit on the process (they would not tell me how much it would be in total).

    I paid this amount in mid January. After 8 weeks I sent a friendly note to ask about progress.on the application. After another week I received a note back scolding me and that I should not ask on progress and they will let me know when they have anything to update me on (they also made a point to tell me that I will be paying 'extra' fees for them to have replied to my note and not to ask them about status again or they will charge me more fees (!)

    It is now 13 weeks and I have still heard nothing. I am not sure what to do. Do I have any rights or do I have to rely completely on them and whatever timing they see fit? And who is the client here? It seems that the landlord is the client yet I am having to pay all of their fees however have no rights and can't even ask on progress?

    Given I am coming up on a year of planning this project I am anxious to get movement. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    #2
    This isn't a company with a similar name to 'Sadism & Masochism' is it? Give up all hope.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

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      #3
      Consent or refusal should be given in weeks rather than months. Say 2 months max if surveyors etc. were required.

      As you already own the loft, you should be given exact costs for permission to alter by now.

      What are their fees ?
      Comprising items such as,
      Basic solicitors costs to include permission to alter.
      Possible demand for 50% of the increase in value of the property envisaged after conversion, to be given to the freeholder.

      again, consent or refusal must be, according to court cases on the internet, must be within a month or two.
      Put that to the solicitor and state that unless an immediate conclusion is received in 7 days, you will have no option but to consider taking the matter to court.

      ( Use the wording "consider" rather than "will" take action )

      Comment


        #4
        Once you have got the consent issue sorted, make an application to the FTT to determine the reasonableness of the fees.

        You may or may not win but they shouldn't be able to recover the costs (double check the lease doesn't allow them to), so will be a pain in the a*** for them.

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          #5
          Thank you! Really appreciate the replies. Excuse my ignorance, but what is FTT?
          Thanks again
          G

          Comment


            #6
            First tier tribunal - ( property )
            Used to be called the L.V.T. - Leasehold valuation Tribunal, and more links to the lvt than to the ftt on'th interweb thingy.

            See http://www.lease-advice.org/
            and then http://www.lease-advice.org/topics/?...operty-chamber

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              #7
              I have been waiting 4 months for a reply from the freeholder, who is also my neighbour, for consent to alter. Not a peep from him.

              Comment


                #8
                Knock on the door of your Neighbour with a BIG box of chocolates and ask for signing of an approval letter which you will have prepared.

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                  #9
                  I wish it were that simple! I did try and talk to him, 3 months ago, and he said 'my solicitor will talk to you', and since then I have heard nothing.

                  I won't go into detail, but there is history of him being very difficult. I am going ahead regardless on the basis that he is withholding reasonable consent with his delay in answering. I'm planning to write to him, to forewarn him that I am going ahead, and the works will be done to building reg's and with a structural engineers report, both of which I will give to him. I'm only asking for an ensuite, using an existing waste pipe, and existing drain which is exclusively for my demise. I submitted plans back in November for this.

                  Comment

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