Freeholder consent to alterations fee

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    Freeholder consent to alterations fee

    Hi, hoping someone may help.

    I own a ground floor one bedroom terraced house converted flat. I am looking to build a single story extension on the rear of the property making it a two bed flat. I have a 150 year lease. Planning permission has been granted and I have the party wall agreements sorted and a builder ready to go.

    My freeholder has been very positive about the extension to date, but has not provided written consent. And yes unfortunately our lease does state we need freeholder consent.

    We have offered the freeholder £1000 as a good will gesture for his time spent on the approval processes and admin, which he rejected withholding consent. He is now insisting that a second surveyor values his consent fee at a cost to us of £600, we then have to pay the fee they set. Has anyone encountered this before?
    Last edited by Raglee; 28-06-2015, 16:17 PM. Reason: Mixed up leaseholder with freeholder

    #2
    What should happen is ;

    The freeholder charges you for taking the freeholders land to build an extension on, as it's not your land, unless the garden is demised to you and only you have use of the garden.
    But can still charge you a nominal fee for the land. Very nominal.

    The building is not yours, only the right to use the rooms you have leased.

    The freeholder has to protect the building and other residents, and it is normal for the freeholders surveyor to inspect your plans, and inspect the building, before and after.

    You pay the freeholders costs, ( this is normal ) and that's the surveyours costs, the cost of changing the lease for all flats to show the revised layout of your ground floor, to change the lease to state that the extension is not part of the freeholders building and that all maintenence costs of the addition fall on the leaseholder and not the freeholder.

    If the garden is for use of all leaseholders, you would be asked to purchace the land the footprint of extension takes up, and that would be purchasing a lease for that land, and as above, it's added to your lease.

    So, yes, this is normal. ( to ensure the building is not compromised )

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Ram, thank you for your reply.

      The garden is for our use only.

      We are happy paying the surveyors and the solicitor fees, but are concerned that he is now asking us to pay for a second surveyor to assess his fee to provide consent (he has said this will be between 600 and 700 pounds).

      It seems unnecessary to pay yet another third party. Does anyone know the process they will use to assess the fee?

      Also, do you know how much the fee might be? We live in London and our lease is for another 150 years.

      Thank you for your help.

      Comment


        #4
        I have a feeling that unless there is a "may not unreasonably withold consent" clause then the freeholder has a bit of an upper hand in negotiations here, and probably can claim he is not 'expert' enough to assess the fee for consent.

        However, I seem to remember Lawcruncher arguing in a previous thread that the freeholder cannot get away with an excessive fee as you will effectively be improving the building and adding to it's value.

        Comment


          #5
          Hi, just found the below regarding reasonable consent and the freeholder, fingers crossed you might be able to shed some further light on this:

          'Not during the said term to erect any temporary or other additional buildings on any part of the demised premises nor erect or bring upon the demised premises or any part thereof any caravan house on wheels or other chattel adapted or intended for the use as a dwelling or sleeping apartment or for the sale of goods nor allow or permit the demised premises or any part thereof to be used nor make any alterations in the plan or elevation of the demised premises or in the architectural decoration thereof or cut maim alter or injure any of the principle timbers or walls thereof nor construct any gateway or opening in any of the fences bounding the demised premises nor stop or divert any service water or other drain upon or under the demised premises without the previous consent in writing of the lessor'

          And:

          'Within seven days of receipt of notice or knowledge of the said by the lessees to give to the lessor full particulars of any notice order or proposal for a notice or order or license consent permission or direction made given or issued by any competent authority under or by virtue of the town and country planning acts affecting or relating to the demised premises and at the request of the lessor to make or joining with lessor in making such appeal appeal or objection or represensitive against any such notice order proposal or direction or any refusal of or condition imposed under any such license consent or permission as the lessor shall reasonably deem expedient.'

          Thanks

          Comment


            #6
            I should have mentioned that the above paragraphs aren't related, they are from different parts of the lease. I hope this hasn't confused anyone.

            Comment


              #7
              I am not a lawyer.

              But the first paragraph looks like you need the freeholders consent, and if he does not wish to give it there is no 'may not unreasonably withold' bit allowing you to force consent through courts.

              Therefore, in my opinion he has you over a barrel. I think your way ahead must really be to pay what the freeholder asks in order to get his consent(otherwise you will not get it). Then, afterwards if you feel the charges have been excessive enough to warrant action, challenge them at the FTT.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks andybenw,

                The advice we are getting is pretty mixed. Our solicitor seems to think the freeholder can't act unreasonably regardless of it not stating this is the lease.

                We do feel he is acting unreasonably as he has previously given verbal consent and is now insisting on a surveyor valuation which we found out yesterday is £850 plus vat.

                We are now seeking further legal advice but if anyone else has an input, all information is appreciated. Thanks

                Comment


                  #9
                  Raglee,

                  If it is of any help, I am going through a similar situation. You probably fall into a Qualified Convent, not a Fully Qualified Convent. Meaning the freeholder can refuse. Contradictory to that, there is a statute that is supposed to cover the "unreasonably refused" even if it isn't in the lease. I've been unable to determine which one takes precedence.

                  In your case I would read that he took the money quite happily and then realised his duties as a Landlord meant he has to ensure the building is sound. I don't think him asking for the surveyor per se is unreasonable, the cost may be. Taking money on a premise of granting permission seems to be a grey area and a legislation pitfall.

                  Hopefully you have progressed. All the best.

                  Comment

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