What is a Licence to Alter and who does it affect?
A leasehold owner (typically of a commercial unit or a flat in a multi apartment building ) proposing structural or material changes to their property will generally require the consent of the freehold owner under the terms of the lease. Leaseholders will typically be required to obtain a Licence to Alter before modifying their property and these often take form of legal agreements drafted by Solicitors. This allows freehold owners to protect themselves against potential losses and ensure the works won’t adversely affect other residents in the building.
Whether you are a freehold owner or a leaseholder, Squarepoint Chartered Surveyors have the expertise to guide you smoothly through the process.
Depending on the terms of the lease, freehold owners should often consent to the proposed alterations, provided the leaseholder agrees to reasonable terms and clearly outlines the proposes works. Obtaining a Licence to Alter can often be a lengthy and complicated process, and it is important to factor this to timescales for undertaking works and ensure you are getting good advice and guidance.
Examples of works that may require a Licence to Alter:
- Structural alterations i.e. the removal of loadbearing walls or formation of new openings
- Changing window units if not demised to the flat
- Alterations to or installing additional bathrooms or WCs
- New heating installations – i.e. forming a new penetration to the external wall for a boiler flue
- Changes floor finishes – i.e. switching from soft floor coverings such as carpet to wood flooring
How Squarepoint can assist freehold owners –
We can review the lease terms and covenants relating to the Licence to Alter as well as act as an intermediary between the freeholder and leaseholder. We can also undertake an inspection of the building and the review the proposed works before they commence and ensure they are appropriately designed and advise on any relevant clauses or requirements of the License to Alter.
We can also undertake inspections during and at the end of the works to ensure that the alterations are completed according to the Licence to Alter terms and that all relevant documentation has been obtained.
The benefits of our services:
- Gain a comprehensive understanding of the proposed works
- Protect your building and any of other leaseholders
- Ensure the leaseholder complies with the licence to alter agreement
How Squarepoint can assist leasehold owners –
Freehold owners can sometimes place an obligation on the leaseholder to obtain an independent report of their proposed works to form part of the Licence to Alter agreement. We will review the lease terms and covenants relating to the proposed works and provide a clear and concise report that summarise your proposals. We will advise you if there are any works that may not be permitted under the terms of the lease and work with you and the freehold owner to reach an agreement on the proposed works. We can also advise on any relevant clauses or requirements that get added to the Licence to Alter agreement to ensure it is a fair agreement and that both parties fully understand any requirements.
We can also provide a ‘sanity’ check of your proposals before you submit to a freehold owner to ensure that your submission is clear and does not contain any items likely to be refused by the freehold owner.
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Really helpful team at Squarepoint, on hand to help with any queries and take you through the whole process clearly and at a pace guided by you. Our party wall surveyor, Adam, was great at communicating and efficient throughout the whole process, could not ask for more.
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I was extremely pleased with the excellent service provided by Scott Buchanan of Squarepoint Chartered Surveyors, and I hope to contact yourselves in due course with a view to getting further advice.
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