A Licence for Alterations, also known as Licence to Alter usually applies to a premise that a tenant (leaseholder) occupies under a leasehold agreement.
If a tenant would like to undertake particular changes within the premises it will often require legal consent from the landlord (freeholder).
The consent is offered as a Licence to Alter or Licence for Alterations. The licence for alterations is a legally binding document. This document will afford protections for both parties.
Each lease is different; however, the landlord cannot be unreasonable and refuse (though at times they’d like to) consent to your requests, in most cases it makes a licence for alterations fairly straightforward to obtain.
Changes that Require a Licence for Alterations?
A licence for alterations is required for any change that will alter the structure of the premises.
This includes installing a new service provider or removing internal walls.
The need for a licence for alterations will be dependent on the nature of the changes the tenant intends to make and the lease terms of the property.
Changes that could be refused tend to be those that affect the exterior of the property's appearance or something that will drastically alter the property's structure. Without landlord consent or having the restriction waived, you will not undertake these types of work.
Interior changes that are not of a structural nature will likely be permitted by landlords, as they are not allowed to withhold permission unreasonably.
A lease may not confirm a landlord’s permission is required to undertake changes in a few cases. In this case, the tenant is allowed to make any alterations without the requirement of a licence for alterations.
Ensure That You Comply
Licence for alterations is an important protection for tenant’s, they confirm that they have complied with the provisions of their lease.
When a tenant seeks a licence for alterations retroactively, it places an onerous tone in favour of the Landlord when negotiating. It is crucial that you follow the correct protocol to avoid this and keep the negotiations on an even playing field. If you a tenant proceeds without a licence for alterations, when they come to sell, it can cause an issue with potential buyers, when the legal checks are undertaken.
Licence for alterations is an important protection for landlords, as it provides an accurate record of the works that have been undertaken on the property.
This can be crucial if the lease includes a reinstatement clause. The clause means the tenant is required to restore the property to the condition, prior to the works being undertaken. This includes the removal of both fixtures and fittings that have been added.