Making structural changes to a flat can often be more complicated that undertaking similar work to a privately-owned home.
We were contacted by a couple who are in the process of buying a ground floor flat and want to find out if they will be able to extend the property.
Q: We are planning to buy a garden flat. The owner of the upstairs flat owns the freehold. Do we need to get her permission for a small extension or conservatory?
A. Make sure the garden forms part of the leasehold title to the flat you intend to buy, and that there is not just an exclusive right to use the garden. Look very carefully at the terms of the lease to establish whether there are any restrictive covenants prohibiting the building of an extension or conservatory on the garden.
Generally, residential leases include a requirement for a lessee to obtain the freeholder’s prior written consent to make any alterations or additions to the property. The freeholder’s requirements should be detailed in the terms of the lease and it would be usual for the lessee to have to pay the legal and surveyor’s fees of the freeholder in connection with the granting of consent. This is in addition to the fees of your own surveyor/architect and lawyer.
The freeholder may want to see plans and drawings of the proposed extension or conservatory and possibly a report from a structural engineer, plus confirmation that the necessary planning and building regulations consents are being obtained, along with listed building consent if the property is listed.
Do You Have A Conveyancing Question?
If you, like the couple above, have a property or conveyancing query, please get in touch with our knowledgeable team who can advise on your rights and possible next steps.