Co-freeholder permission for works and change of co-freeholder

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    Co-freeholder permission for works and change of co-freeholder

    I have what I imagine is a pretty niche problem (and can't immediately see a related topic). I have a split level maisonette, sharing freehold with the downstairs flat.

    I know the co-freeholders and we get along very well, and I have told them by email a month ago I plan to do works (a loft extension and roof terrace). They didn't raise any objection, however they have now put their flat up for sale.

    1) Should I now seek formal development approval from the current owner to do the work, or will the email exchange do; and
    2) If they sell the property (a) during planning, (b) before the work starts but with planning approved, or (c) after work has commenced, would a new co-freeholder have the right to retract any permissions?

    Thanks in advance,

    Is any of this visible from outside? Does any of it increase the load on the structure? Does any of this involve extending into communal space?

    Even if none of the above, I would not want to rely on an email.


      Yes there are structural works taking place and will need planning permission. So it sounds like the answer to (1) is yes I should seek formal approval from them - thanks very much. What about number 2? If the current co-freeholder gives me a licence to alter the property, is there a possibility the new owner can pull the permission in each of those situations?


        What I'm not clear about is whether it is just a licence under the lease, or whether it actually needs the lease to be varied.


          The work is visible from the outside, may increase the loads though I am not certain, but does not extend into communal space. If that helps


            Dear James

            You cannot rely on the email or any other informal arrangement in this situation. It is vitally important you formalize matters and obtain a Licence to Alter. Ensure the wording is flexible to take account of the final work given you are at an early stage and some aspects of the plan might change.

            As the co-freeholder is in agreement, best advice is, instruct a solicitor to draw up a Licence to Alter. you will need to pay your own and the co-freeholder's legal costs. However, as this is not contentious your solicitor might be able to complete the work without necessitating the co-freeholder instructing a solicitor.

            I would also obtain a letter from the co-freeholder to the planning dept confirming their full agreement with your plans both as co-freeholder and leaseholder of the other flat. Again, the solicitor should be able to put all of this together for you so there are no issues.

            FYI, a new co-freeholder would not be bound by a decision the former co-freeholder made unless it is crystallized by way of a deed.

            Now also would be a good time to look at existing arrangements re managing the freehold to ensure if there is anything that needs attention it is arranged before the maisonette is sold. You never know the new owner might not be congenial which could cause all sorts of issues in the future.

            Good luck.


              That is very helpful, thank you!

              Absent the deed, if the work is already in progress, could a new co-freeholder stop it from happening do you think?


                To avoid issues you need a deed. Even if the work has started you can arrange a licence to alter with the existing co-freeholder. Without the deed the key issue is you would be in breach of your lease.


                  Hi James

                  Ensure you check the loft and roof area are demised to your maisonette. If not you will need to deal with this.

                  Depending upon the exact nature of work there might need to be changes to the lease. This will definitely apply if areas concerned are not demised and will require the co-operation of the co-freeholder.

                  Overall James, I would suggest you discuss matters with a solicitor.


                    And how much has the co-freeholder asked you to pay (to him ) for leasing the extra space in the loft, if it was in your lease that the loft was not included in your demise ?
                    If a new co-freeholder arrives, and found out the loft was not in your demise and the 2 original freeholders conspired to give away, for nothing, a valuable asset, that would give only you a profit from this free donation of a large space, he would rightly be miffed, very miffed, and could ask for 50% of the increase in value to your flat.


                      OK - thanks Vmart, I'll do that


                        The loft space is demised to me - I am opening the eaves of the existing loft. I don't know about the roof, but will look into it too. Thanks again


                          It is not possble to say if the exchange of emails is sufficient without knowing what they said. Whatever they said, the counsel of perfection is to have a deed. It is not necessary to go the expense of instructing a solicitor as I can draw one up for your if you let me know (a) if you obtained planning permission (b) if you obtained building regulations consent (c) if you have detailed plans and/or specification.


                            Lawcruncher that is extremely kind of you! I'll pay you though. Is there a phone number I could get you on?



                              No fee required, Draft will appear soon.


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