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Leasehold: Building an extension – how & when to get freeholder consent

We want to put a single storey extension on our leasehold ground floor terrace property and have engaged an architect. At what point we need to get our freeholder's agreement? Should we wait for approval from our freeholder before submitting for planning permission?

Building an extension on a leasehold

Obtaining leaseholder consent for alterations

You have done the right thing in checking your lease to ensure that you are able to undertake alterations as long as you have consent.

In this instance, we recommend approaching your freeholder sooner rather than later. If you own a share of a freehold, this will be mean engaging with your neighbours . By speaking to your freeholder and neighbours as early as possible, you may help to avoid unexpected delays and extra costs further down the line.

But even more important is that you get early warning of any potential objections. Even though you may have interpreted the lease as you having the right to extend, your freeholder may have a different interpretation. For example if your extension could danger the structural integrity of the building. Or that the land you are building on is not 100% yours but is shared amongst the other leaseholders.

There is normally a charge associated with getting the approval – a licence for alterations. There will also be additional charges to amend the lease to take into account the new extension.

Your freeholder is unlikely to withhold consent as they will also benefit from the increase in value. However, they will want to reassure themselves that the changes you are making represent an improvement. Showing them your plans should help.  They may want to get a professional opinion on the plans and you will need to pay. You may also need to appoint a party wall agreement which you will need to budget for.

Instantly find qualified Party Wall Surveyors in your local area who can help you with your Party Wall Award

License for alteration charges

According to Schedule 11 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 all charges should be reasonable and a leaseholder has the right to challenge the reasonableness of charges.

Costs could include such items as: surveyors costs of checking plans and the work itself, solicitor costs for drawing up a formal licence and general administration charges.

Knowing what that cost is in advance will allow you to budget and, if necessary, challenge any costs that may be unreasonable.

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