Why Do I Need 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?'

So, in this part 2, Icon Surveyors will consider why and when a ‘Licence for Alteration’ may be legally required.

In Case You Missed Part 1 of Licence for Alteration Guide

Licence to Alter Guide Part 1: What is a Licence for Alteration?

Why do I Need a ‘Licence for Alteration’?

In the simplest terms,

Under the provisions of both commercial and residential leasehold agreements, there is often a clause restricting the rights of a tenant to make certain and/or any alterations. Such provisions are usually formed in one of two ways. The first is an outright prohibition to carry out any and/or certain alterations and the second forbids a tenant from carrying out alterations without first obtaining the landlord’s consent.

As the landlord and tenant have entered into a legally binding agreement, both parties have a legal obligation to abide by the terms and conditions of the agreement. Any deviations of the agreed terms by either party would constitute a breach of the agreement.

A tenant who is in breach of a covenant that prohibits alterations being carried out, is more likely than not, to be reprimanded with severe penalties, these might include hefty costs, the reversal of any alteration, or, in more serious cases, the forfeiture of the lease.

For this reason, Icon Surveyors would always recommend that any leaseholder proposing to carry out any works that incorporate an alteration, seek advice from a Party Wall Surveyor at the earliest opportunity, and in any event, prior to the proposed commencement of the works.

When do I Need a ‘Licence for Alteration’?

As stated above, there is a legal obligation on a tenant whose leasehold agreement incorporates a clause prohibiting or restricting alterations to the leasehold property. In these circumstances, a ‘Licence for Alteration’ will be required.

However, many leasehold agreements have clauses that allow a tenant to make alterations that are both internal and non-structural. If such a clause has been incorporated within the agreement there is usually further permission to carry out such alterations without the Landlord’s consent.

In the case of a tenant carrying out an alteration where the consent of a landlord is not required, Icon Surveyors would always advise a tenant to be prudent in their approach to carrying out such works. Firstly, we would suggest that a tenant notifies the landlord of the proposed works, and secondly, that the tenant acquires photographs of the property before and after the alterations have been carried out. The purpose of these exercises is to ensure that a tenant has a comprehensive record of property in the event that any subsequent problems arise as a result of the works between either the landlord and tenant or an adjoining owner.

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

Icon Surveyors

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