Structural alteration consent

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    Structural alteration consent

    The freeholder of my ground floor flat is suggesting that I need his consent to install a gas boiler in my property. This will entail a hole in one external wall for the gas in pipe and another hole in a different external wall for the flue. He is demanding plans and specifications and I will have to meet his costs. Is he acting within his rights? I do not consider these to be structural alterations.

    #2
    Although many freeholders would consider a replacement boiler de mnimis, I don't think it s something that the tenant can do without permission from either the lease or the landlord. "structural" tends to be used with a wider meaning than "load bearing".

    If there never was a gas boiler, before, I can certainly see the freeholder wanting to look into it closely.

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      #3
      Hello James

      The first thing to do is check the wording of your lease. Do your leases contain a clause mentioning consent? If they do, consent cannot be unreasonably withheld (there is statutory legislation to this effect). If leases are silent on consent your landlord does not need to give consent and statute does not help.

      However, irrespective of the details above, as you need to make holes in external walls it is a structural alteration and would usually require landlord's consent.

      It is reasonable for a landlord to ask for plans and specifications in advance and usual the leaseholder would meet the landlord's costs. I suggest you ask the landlord for an estimate of his costs. He may not be able to provide this information until he sees the plans.

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        #4
        Thank you for your replies. The exact wording of lease: Paragraph 3(xii): ‘Not to make any structural alteration in the Premises without approval of the Landlord in writing to the plans and specifications thereof and to pay costs and expenses incurred by the Landlord in considering the said plans and specifications whether or not approved by the Landlord and to make all such alterations in accordance with the approved plans and specifications and the Tenant shall at his own expense in all respects obtain all licences approvals or planning permissions and other things necessary for the carrying out of such alterations and comply with the bye-laws and regulations and other matters prescribed by any competent authority or generally in respect of the specific work involved in such alterations’.

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          #5
          Dear James

          The clause is clear. Your landlord is not asking you to do anything not required by the lease.

          The only course is to try to find out how much they estimate they will charge. But reiterate he may not be able to provide this information without seeing plans.

          If you are replacing a gas boiler you are unlikely to need a licence to alter but if this is a new installation a licence to alter would be advisable. Following knowledge of all of the costs, you can decide if the costs outweigh the benefits.

          If your landlord does not consent you will be able to use statutory legislation as consent, given the clause, cannot be unreasonably withheld. However, bear in mind, the landlord might make a good case as to reasons it is not unreasonable to withhold consent.

          Unfortunately, any dispute is likely to be stressful and costly in more ways than one.

          Is your landlord reasonable, approachable? Negotiating an amicable solution is always advised; negotiation requires a willingness on both sides.There are many that will agree to negotiate but then just insist on their own way: sad fact of life.

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            #6
            Have a look at your lease if there is any section on 'Wayleaves'. Nowadays things like gas pipes & flues are often mentioned as being allowed in the lease.

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