What is a Licence for Alteration?

In this four-part blog, Icon Surveyors will consider firstly, 'what is a Licence for Alteration?' Secondly, when and why one might be legally obliged to obtain a ‘Licence for Alteration’? Thirdly, whether a ‘Licence for Alteration can be refused? And finally, how to acquire a ‘Licence for Alteration’ and what might be included within it?

In Part 1, Icon Surveyors will consider what a ‘Licence for Alteration’ is...

What is a ‘Licence for Alteration’?

In the simplest of terms,

A ‘Licence for Alteration’ is a legal document that grants an applicant, usually, a leasehold tenant, or, a joint freeholder (a party that owns a proportion of the freehold), conditioned permission to carry out alterations to an existing structure or building.

Such licences fall into two categories and are determined as alterations for minor works or alterations for major works. The required permissions apply equally to commercial and residential tenants and/or joint freeholders. Such permissions are usually granted by a Landlord.

Licence for Alteration - Minor Works

Minor works are usually categorised as works that are not structural. Though not structural, these types of works tend to affect either the aesthetics of the property, the rights guaranteed by the Landlord to other tenants occupying their building, or indeed any other minor alterations a landlord has prohibited being carried out without their consent. Alterations of this nature might include the installation of a new kitchen or bathroom that does not involve any alterations pertaining to a supporting wall; the replacement of internal carpets with hard flooring, or, the installation of new windows or a satellite dish, or perhaps the reconfiguration of internal electrical or plumbing components.

Licence for Alteration - Major Works

Major works usually involve some form of structural risk and/or alteration. As such, legislation pertaining to Planning Permissions and/or Party Walls will apply. Works in this category of the licence may include the construction of an extension, or a dormer on the roof, the reconfiguration of internal walls and/or utility components that cross over party walls.

In general, minor and major alterations are usually governed by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. Any works to which these Regulations apply are notifiable. For further information, Icon Surveyors would ask the reader to read Part 3 of this blog.

A Deed of Variation

As will be seen in Part 3 of this blog, a ‘Licence for Alteration’ is usually obtained from a Landlord and is made in accordance with the terms of the lease. However, in some instances, a landlord may consent to a tenant carrying out certain works that are strictly prohibited by the lease, in such circumstances, the ‘Licence for Alteration’ might be held to constitute a Deed of Variation.

A ‘Deed of Variation’ is a legal document that permits a landlord and tenant to vary the original terms of a lease with agreed and revised terms.

Icon Surveyors are happy to provide free consultation on such party wall matters to any Leasehold or Freehold owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.

Icon Surveyors

We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.