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wingrovebuyer
wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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We own the leasehold on a ground floor flat in a Victorian

Customer Question

We own the leasehold on a ground floor flat in a Victorian house converted into three flats. We are looking to extend the property (the garden belongs to us) and have received the necessary planning permission. Our lease states that we must seek our Freeholder's consent which have have tried to do. The Freeholder is saying that they will grant consent subject to a 'premium' of £14,000. Our lease says nothing about a 'premium' and I can find nothing that gives them a legal right to demand this. Does this amount to them unreasonably withholding consent? And what are our options?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 10 months ago.
Hello - what exactly does your lease say about consent for alterations or extensions please? WB
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have added a picture of the section in the lease regarding alterations.
Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 10 months ago.
Many thanks. This is a qualified covenant, and not an absolute prohibition. It also states (as you originally said) that consent for alterations cannot be unreasonably withheld. It therefore anticipates alterations, but gives the landlord the opportunity to raise reasonable objections or requests for amendments to the plans etc. As your plans have been passed by the local council, I'm not sure on what grounds the landlord could say they are inappropriate other than that they may devalue the freehold (unlikely). Accordingly, your view that a premium for giving consent is "unreasonable" is correct. I suggest you tell the landlord you are not obliged to pay any premium for the consent and the demand for it is unreasonable. Tell them that if they do not provide consent, you may seek a declaration from the court effectively granting consent to the alterations, and you will seek costs from the landlord. Give them 21 days to provide consent and (maybe) offer to pay their reasonable professional costs in reviewing the plans. If they hold firm, I am afraid you have two choices (i) seek the court order (which will take time and which may cost you legal fees even if you win or (ii) Do the alterations anyway, without consent. The problem with this is that if the matter is left open, when you come to remortgage or sell, the lack of consent may prove problematic. Good luck, I think they will cave in if you threaten court action. Best, WB
Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 10 months ago.
Hello - please don't forget to leave a rating. Best, WB.

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