couple painting the wall

When it comes to making home improvements, there's more to consider than just selecting the right colour scheme, materials, and design. If you live in a leasehold property, you may need to obtain a License to Alter from your landlord before you can proceed with any structural changes or significant alterations. 

This is an important, legal document that grants you permission to carry out specific works on your property. So before moving forward with your home renovation plans, it's best to understand A License to Alter, so you can enhance your space as smoothly as possible. 

What is a License to Alter?

A License to Alter is a legal agreement between a property owner and the landlord or management company responsible for the building in which the property resides. This document grants permission for the property owner to carry out specific alterations or improvements to their property, subject to certain terms and conditions. 

The License to Alter is designed to protect the interests of both parties, ensuring that the proposed changes will not negatively impact the building or other occupants.

When is a License to Alter Required?

A License to Alter is generally required when making significant structural changes to a property, especially if it is a leasehold property. Some examples of alterations that may require a License to Alter include:

  • Removing or altering load-bearing walls
  • Installing new windows or doors
  • Changing the layout of rooms
  • Adding or modifying plumbing or electrical systems
  • Installing a new heating or air conditioning system

Building an Extension or Loft Conversion

It's essential to note that the need for a License to Alter can vary depending on the specific terms of your lease or property management agreement. Therefore, it is crucial to consult these documents and seek professional advice if you are unsure whether your planned home improvements require a License to Alter.

How to Obtain a License to Alter

1. Review your lease or property management agreement: The first step in obtaining a License to Alter is to consult your lease or property management agreement to determine whether one is required for your planned improvements. These documents may also outline specific requirements or restrictions for alterations, which you must adhere to.

2. Consult your landlord or management company: If your lease or property management agreement indicates that a License to Alter is required, you should contact your landlord or management company to discuss your proposed changes. They may request further information, such as architectural plans or building specifications, to fully understand the scope of your project.

3. Negotiate terms and conditions: Your landlord or management company may have specific terms and conditions they wish to include in the License to Alter. This may include requirements for professional supervision of the work, adherence to specific building standards, or restrictions on when the work can be carried out. On that note, it's essential to negotiate these terms to ensure they are reasonable and acceptable to both parties.

4. Draft the License to Alter: Once the terms and conditions have been agreed upon, a License to Alter must be drafted by a solicitor or conveyancer. This document should clearly outline the agreed-upon alterations, any associated restrictions or requirements, and the responsibilities of both parties.

5. Obtain signatures and consent: The License to Alter must be signed by both the property owner and the landlord or management company, signifying their agreement to the proposed alterations. In some cases, consent may also be required from other parties, such as mortgage lenders or other property owners in the building.

6. Proceed with the work: Once the License to Alter has been signed and consent has been obtained from all necessary parties, you are free to proceed with your home improvements.

The Bottom Line

By understanding the requirements and process involved, you can avoid potential legal disputes, ensure your improvements adhere to the lease terms, and ultimately enhance the value of your property. Remember to consult a solicitor and engage with the landlord or freeholder early in the process to ensure a smooth and successful outcome.

So, if you’re looking for reliable and experienced building surveyors in England, look no further than Icon Surveyors. Get in touch today to find out more about our services and how we can help you!

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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.



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