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Licence For Alterations FAQs

Jan 11, 2023


Today, in this instalment of our property surveying blog, we are going to be taking an in-depth and focussed look at Licence for Alterations.

We are going to be taking a deep dive into some of the more typical questions we find ourselves asked here at Stokemont on a daily basis!

Can my freeholder refuse works? 

In short, yes.  However, this very much depends upon the alterations covenant set out within your Lease. 

Generally speaking, there are three different types of alterations covenants that are set out throughout all Leases in England and Wales.

These covenants will be categorised as fully qualified, qualified or absolute covenants. 

If you are lucky enough to have a fully qualified covenant your freeholder cannot refuse consent for your works providing that you go through the necessary procedures.  It is also important to note that the consent to do these works must not be unreasonably withheld.

A qualified covenant is much like a fully qualified covenant, the only difference being that the wording stipulating unreasonably withholding consent is omitted.  This means that the freeholder can, if they so choose, refuse the Licence for Alterations request or, as more often is the case, charge some form of levy or premium against it. 

An absolute covenant is the worst case scenario for a leaseholder. An absolute covenant will effectively mean that your freeholder has the legal right to refuse your works and in all honesty, they are likely to as case law has significantly changed the way in which freeholders now view absolute covenants.

Here at Stokemont we do have a free Lease review service whereby we will happily review your Lease and confirm what type of leasehold covenant you have so that you can best plan the forthcoming works.

How much do the licence for alterations procedures cost? 

This will very much depend on the type of works that are taking place along with the type of lease covenant that exists.

We would advise getting in touch with us, popping over the planned works, along with a copy of your Lease and will happily review and provide a fixed cost quotation. 

As a general ballpark guidance, Licence for Alterations fees can start from the £1,000 plus VAT mark, however, can increase if indeed work complexity requires additional time and input. 

Equally, it is important to note that your freeholder will likely want to charge their own fee for their professional guidance and input both in the form of solicitors and surveyors.

Am I responsible for the freeholder’s costs? 

Yes. As the leaseholder you are legally liable for your freeholder’s reasonable costs in granting the Licence for Alterations consent. 

Ultimately, this will usually be made up of their professional input which can come by way of surveyor, solicitor and usually engineering fees. 

However, it is important to note that if you are unlucky enough to have a qualified covenant or potentially an absolute covenant your freeholder may levy a charge or premium to granting the consent to you for the planned alterations.

How long do the Licence for Alterations procedures take?

This is a tricky one to answer and in all honesty, it will significantly depend on the alterations covenants that exist within your Lease, the type of alterations that you are planning on taking and the fee at which your freeholder or their professional advisors.

Licence for alterations don’t tend to be the quickest surveying service to get over the finish line as there are a lot of moving pieces and information that can form part of them. 

As a general guidance we would advise anywhere from four weeks up to four months. However, do please get in touch with us for clearer timings in that regard. 

If you have a Licence for Alterations matter that you would like to discuss with our team of experienced and qualified surveyors here at Stokemont, please feel free to give us a call today, and we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.

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