Licence for Alterations and Loft Space

May 31, 2021

In this week’s Property Surveying blogpost topic, we are going to be discussing Licence for Alterations, in connection with proposed works to top floor flats and the roof spaces above them.

In many cases, a lot of leaseholders will assume that if they own the top floor flat, and the space above their flat, whether they are able to access it or not through their demise, is empty or void, that they can extend into it without any issue.

This is very much down to the stipulations of the lease, and importantly the extent of the leaseholder’s demise.

If the loft space, is indeed demised to the leaseholder, then they have the legal right to use it in any which way they choose, or can ultimately extend into it, develop it, and bring it into their existing demise as a habitable space.

However, if that space is not demised to their property, and ultimately, they find themselves in a position whereby while they are the only ones who can access it, often through a roof hatch within their property, they do not actually have the legal right to undertake works to it.

This is a very common situation, and in many cases has seen a leaseholder’s proposed loft, or development plans, thwarted, as effectively in order to undertake those works, they will have to purchase the space from the existing leaseholder.

It is important to bear in mind that there are a number of different ways in which a space such as a loft can be valued, first it can be valued on a per square foot basis looking at local sale prices, alternatively it could be valued based off the development value that it poses to the leaseholder’s demise, whereby it will effectively be the difference between the increase in value, minus the construction cost, ultimately ending up at final figure.

Leaseholders should be well aware of this, as it can effectively be the difference of being able to thwart the proposed works, or not, and ultimately overlooking it could mean that they incur significant preconstruction costs, which could have ultimately been avoidable.

If you are planning on undertaking construction works to your leasehold property and would like to extend into your loft, or perhaps you are undertaking some other works, and would like to discuss those with a Chartered Surveyor, give us a call now here at Stokemont, and we will be more than happy to assist you.