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propertylawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 288
Experience:  Property solicitor with expertise in commercial and residential property transactions.
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I am buying a flat in London with a leasehold. My lease has

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I am buying a flat in London with a leasehold. My lease has an absolute impediment for alterations, so I need to ask the landord consent to move the kitchen in a different position. My landlord is ill. What happens if he dies? Who should I ask such permission? What can I do if he says no? He gave consent to prevoius owners to make alterations, can he really refuse it to me? Does this normally happen?

What does the lease say exactly? Can youattach an extract of the alterations clause? You can via the paperclip icon.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
34;Not to make any structural alterations or structural additions whatsoever to the flat or the property nor to erect any new erection building or structure thereon nor make or suffer or permit to be made any material change or addition whatsoever in orbto the use of the flat or remove any of the Landlord's fixtures therein. "
The lease also says: "if the lesses shall at any time fail or neglet to perform or observe any of the covenants conditions and provisions herein contained and on the part on the part of the Lesses to be performed and observed then and in any such case the Lessor may at any time thereafter re-enter on the flat or any part thereof in the name of the whole and thereupon the term hereby created shall cease and determine but without prejudice to the rights and remedies of the landlord in respect to any antecedent breach of the covenants conditionsand provisionson the part of the lesses herein contained".
Does this mean that the landlord can claim a forfeiture without asking to observe the covenants and without recorring to a court? In brief, would this be an authomatic forfeiture? Thank you for your response.

You will need to consider with your solicitor whether the landlord and tenant act 1927 applies. Under s.3 the LTA 1927 gives a tenant the right, in certain circumstances, to carry out improvements even if forbidden to do so by the lease. It cannot be excluded by the parties.

Under section 3 of the LTA 1927, if the tenant wants to carry out improvements it can serve a notice on the landlord of its intention to carry out the improvements. The landlord can object, and if it does then the tenant has the right to apply to the court for authorisation to carry out the improvements. The court can authorise the improvements if they:

  • Are calculated to add to the letting value of the property at the termination of the tenancy;

  • Are reasonable and suitable to the character of the property;

  • Will not diminish the value of any other property which belongs to the landlord or to any superior landlord.

(Section 3(1)(a), (b) and (c), LTA 1927.)

The court may modify the plans and specification of the works and impose conditions as it thinks fit (section 3(1), LTA 1927).

A tenant may want to use section 3 of the LTA 1927 even if it could carry out the works by virtue of the lease covenants, because section 3 can bring with it a right to compensation (section 1, LTA 1927).

If the landlord does not object to the improvements within three months (or if the court authorises the work) then the tenant may lawfully carry them out, even if the lease would prohibit this (section 3(4), LTA 1927).

You may wish to proceed on the basis of {1} complete the purchase and then serve notice on the landlord but if the landlord refuses and you do not obtain a court order then you cannot proceed or {2} exchange with completion conditional upon landlord's consent or court order if landlord objects. Although this could delay completion by months and the seller may not agree to it.

As to forfeiture. As the breach is not a financial one the landlord will need a court order or for you to admit you have breached the lease before it could serve a s.146 notice to breach the lease.

Sorry, the last part should say.... S.146 notice to forfeit/terminate the lease.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your clear reply. Only to be 100% sure I understood correctly:
1. I can ask the consent to the landlord and he has an obligation to respond: If he does not reply within 3 months I can carry on lawfully my works.
2. There is NOT authomatic forfeiture in lease contracts (unless is financial breach) . So the landlord needs to demonstrate it in front of a Court and it is for the Court to decide.
Many thanks

1 yes. 2 yes.

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