Converting Leasehold 1 bed flat to 2 bed - fire regulations query

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Converting Leasehold 1 bed flat to 2 bed - fire regulations query

    Hi,
    I'm new to this forum and this is my first question, so thanks in advance for your responses and help.

    I just completed on a leasehold one bedroom basement garden flat in the Preston Park area of Brighton. It was a cash purchase.

    The flat is perfect to turn into a 2 bed as the living room has a kind of alcove room off it which is the perfect size for a kitchen. I would then turn the kitchen into a second bedroom.

    I have had builders look round the flat and no one has any issues in making the conversion. However, amongst those who have seen the flat, there's a difference in opinion as to whether I'd need the freeholders consent to make the conversion. All the builders' suggest that, as I will be making no structural change, then I am free to make the conversion without freeholder consent. Estate agents who have given me valuations on the property have suggested that despite the fact that I am not making structural changes, I would still need freeholders consent. My conveyancing solicitor says she can not see anything in the contract that would suggest I'd need freeholder's consent to convert the flat to a 2 bed. However, one of the estate agents (Who was a bit of a 'jack the lad') suggested the solicitor may not know how it works in such building and that I'd be un-wise to go ahead without freeholder consent.

    As you can probably tell, I'm new to all this and would dearly appreciate some advice.

    Thanks,

    Simon

    #2
    You will need the freeholders consent as you are moving the kitchen to a different place and will be altering the plumbing and the layout of the flat. You may need building regs as no doubt you will also be rewiring and replumbing to fit a new kitchen. Do not proceed without permission as when the freeholder finds out he may make you revert to the original plans.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by simonrobson View Post
      As you can probably tell, I'm new to all this and would dearly appreciate some advice.
      The standard question in such a case - what does your lease say you need to do?

      Comment


        #4
        According to my conveyancing solicitor, there is nothing in the lease to say I need the freeholders' consent to make internal changes, as long as there are no structural changes... But bbva above is saying, as I interpret it, that I'd need the freeholder's consent anyhow...

        Comment


          #5
          Right - so it depends on whether the works would fall under structural. I would tend to say they do, if you change around the internal services of the flat this could well be structural alterations...

          Who is the landlord and is this a question of obtaining consent, or of notification (again it should state so in the lease)? If this is a question of notification only then is there merit in just giving them notification to be on the safe side? If this is a question of consent then such consent cannot be withheld unreasonably, do you have reasons to believe this would be the case?

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks Mattl,
            No, I have no reason to believe that consent would be un-necessarily withheld. I guess I just wanted to get on with the renovations and, as my solicitor could see nothing in the lease, was hoping to just go for it. But what I will do is notify the freeholder of my intentions. I am not sure if this will then necessitate plans being drawn up. I guess I'll find out soon enough. Thanks for your help!

            Comment


              #7
              Non-structural alterations amount to moving round the furniture, putting up curtain rails etc: What you are proposing is far more than that.

              Typically freeholders charge for consenting to changes of this kind. You are increasing the sale value, and the rent achievable, of the leasehold flat. Freeholder may want a 50% cut, if the lease permits it.

              What does your lease say? Can you give us the precise wording please?

              Comment


                #8
                Here's the exact wording of the article in the lease that I can find that refers to this question:
                Not to make any structural alterations of structural additions to the Flat nor to erect any new buildings thereon or remove any of the lessors fixtures or in any way alter the exterior appearance of the Flat without the previous consent in writing of the Lessor such consent not to be unreasonably withheld.

                Comment


                  #9
                  You will be removing the kitchen fixtures, plumbing, and electrics. Your layout will not match the original plan layout which becomes problematic when you come to sell. You need written consent.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by simonrobson View Post
                    Not to make any structural alterations of structural additions to the Flat nor to erect any new buildings thereon or remove any of the lessors fixtures or in any way alter the exterior appearance of the Flat without the previous consent in writing of the Lessor such consent not to be unreasonably withheld.
                    I think you will need prior written consent from the lessor.

                    The good thing is that there's no charging clause for this so they should not be able to ask for extortionate amounts of money from you. Only reasonable costs to enable them to make a decision should be available to them - probably a few hundred pounds max. And even this only if they can fit your request into s.19(2) Landlord and Tenant Act 1927.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks all, this is extremely helpful...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Converting Leasehold 1 bed flat to 2 bed - fire regulations query

                        Hello again,
                        This post really is a continuation of my earlier post entitled: Converting Leasehold 1 bed flat to 2 bed - Do I need freeholder's consent?

                        You can find it here:
                        http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...lder-s-consent

                        Firstly, just to say thanks to everyone who offered advice, you saved me a lot of hassle and money.

                        Secondly, the plot thickens... I took a trip down to Brighton & Hove planning department to talk about my proposed conversion. I got to speak to a building regs chap who was helpful. The first thing he flagged (And I WISH I'd known this prior to purchase) is that by placing the kitchen in the living room and the second bedroom where the kitchen once was, I would create the need for a fire escape route out of the back of the flat from the second bedroom. I thought this was no problem, as the second bedroom (Now kitchen) has a door leading to the garden. However, this garden is an enclosed space, closed in on the left by the garden wall for no.65 (I'm no.67), on the right by the building itself and at the bottom by a lowish fence leading to the garden to flat 8. The building regs guy informed me that occupants need to be able to get the same distance away from the building as the building is high, if you follow my drift. He pointed me to an 'Approved Document' that you can find here:

                        http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/upl...AD_B1_2013.pdf
                        Go to page 18 to see the diagram.

                        Now, my garden is no way long enough to allow occupants to get that far away from the building. The first thing I thought of was to approach the leaseholders of Flat 8, (who have the garden which is over my bottom fence) to see if they (And the freeholder of course) would allow me to put a gate in the fence to be used as a fire escape only. Obviously this could get very complex; Flat 8 leaseholders worrying about their property value, security issues, paying for all the solicitors fees, re-writing the Deed of Covenant etc. Secondly, I wondered about replacing the fence with a low-ish wall. Is their a rule whereby if a garden wall is low enough, it could be considered an escape route? I'd love to hear if anyone has encountered a problem like this and if they have any insights.

                        Here is the layout of my flat, just click on 'floor plan':
                        http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-...-27460167.html
                        I intend to move the kitchen to the area marked 'study' and make the kitchen into a second bedroom.

                        The building regs guy suggested making a corridor through the flat past the kitchen. But as you can appreciate, this would not work at all.

                        Any thoughts greatly appreciated,

                        Simon

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Two related threads have been merged.
                          I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If you enclosed the kitchen with a fire door instead of an open plan kitchen, would this pass?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It would, be the kitchen would then be made into an internal room with no windows, as opposed to an open plan affair. I just spoke to another building regs guy who has recommended that I look into an auto-mist sprinkler system made by Plumis ltd. Has anyone had any dealing with them?

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X