14th January 2019 at 08:56 #5054
I know when I bought this place I did ask my solicitor this but I wanted to make sure. I am looking at updating my kitchen but it is remaining in the exact same spot so will not need to move anything. I do not need permission for this is this correct? Also, I am responsible for updating electrics in my flat is this right?
14th January 2019 at 09:28 #5056
- This topic was modified 9 months ago by VR.
I am in the process of selling, and have found that our new kitchen and bathroom, installed by a previous occupant, should have had some form of consent.
This is the reply I got when I asked exactly your question:
“Thank you for your email in regards to works which have been carried out retrospectively. I can confirm that a formal Retrospective licence for alterations would not be required for the works you describe. Please liaise direct with your ward manager, [name] who I have copied into this email. If the ward manager is content with the works carried out then they will issue retrospective written consent in the form of a letter.”
Do not follow the process you are directed to on the Camden website – it is an online enquiry form but no one seems to read them or answer. I wrote an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and got a fairly quick response.
Having said all that, I haven’t yet had a reply from the ward manager!14th January 2019 at 14:14 #5063
In general, you do need consent for works to your flat. It needs to come from at least the Housing Ward Manager; if there are structural issues Repairs and Improvements and Building Control (for example, if a new kitchen affects a load-bearing wall) come into play. Rarely, you may need listed building consent.
In general, Camden leases make the leaseholder responsible for electric cables, water and gas pipes within the property.14th January 2019 at 14:42 #5064
Hi Peter, thanks for your reply on this I will not be touching anything in regards to walls or pipes and your saying I still need permission.a I just want to get a new kitchen to replace the one I have and the builder has confirmed everything else is fine just need a couple plugs added. I got off the phone with leaseholder services and even they said they don’t think I need permission but they need to ask someone else. Again, I do feel this is a basic question that I should not have to chase around for and like I said even my solicitor said that I don’t but from what Robw13 said he had issues. I do need a prompt response so how do I do this? Many thanks in advance.14th January 2019 at 14:56 #5065
Leaseholder Services will clear with Housing Management. Just make sure they get on with it; if not, get one of your Ward Councillors to put in a Member’s complaint about it.
Peter Wright14th January 2019 at 15:02 #5066
Thanks Peter. Well I’ve emailed and called so not much more I can do on my end except just keep calling and harassing! Where can I find out my ward councillors?
Also, had I not posted here and told Camden leaseholders about the comment that was made above the lady just said that’s not an alternation. Therefore, correct information has not been given as if I just called I would have just thought I would be fine yet potentially run into problems later which is unfair.
14th January 2019 at 17:21 #5068
- This reply was modified 9 months ago by VR.
Just thought I would add this to the thread after getting a hold of the officer in my area. A person doesn’t need permission if the kitchen is staying as is and a few plugs are being moved or added. I have copied and pasted below the information that was sent to me in case this helps anyone else in the future.
LEASEHOLDERS ALTERATION GUIDE FOR STAFF
This factsheet will guides you through the types of applications we, as landlord, would normally give or not give permission/consent to alter leased properties. Its purpose is to ensure consistency and transparency in the decision making process.
By way of further information, you may also wish to read:
• Copies of the lease agreement for estate and street properties saved on SharePoint/Shared Z drive folder to familiarise yourself with the terms of the lease.
• The guide for leaseholders wishing to make an application for license for improvements and buying of additional land on line on the Leasehold Services Website
LICENCE FOR ALTERATION
The licence for alteration is a formal legal document granting permission to carry out alteration works that changes the lease or floor plan of the property. It is issued to the applicant (leaseholder) by the Leasehold Services Section after the Tenancy Services Team has examined the application submitted by the leaseholder and given its consent.
It is anticipated that the whole process from the submission of the application with full details to the issuing of the licence will take 8 weeks.
The alterations or the improvement works cannot be carried out until the licence for the alteration has been issued to the leaseholder by the Leasehold Services Team.
APPLYING FOR PERMISSION FOR IMPROVEMENT WORKS WHERE LICENCE IS NOT REQUIRED
Some applications for alteration do not require a licence. For example requests to replace kitchen units, bathroom suites, replacement/renewal of electrical points, boilers, etc would not require a licence for alteration. It would only require the manager’s written consent.
However, the manager in responding to the Leaseholder’s request must ask to be provided with Part P Certificate or Electrical/Gas Safety certificates for the works carried out. The manager should forward copies of the certificates to Major Repairs/ M& E and ask to be provided with their comments.
In more complex non-structural applications, the manager should forward copies of the drawings of the works that the leaseholder had attached with the application to the Major Works Team or M&E Section and ask to be provided with comments.
Please note that we would normally not give permission/consent for the following:
• Request to disconnect from District Heating System
• Request to install wooden/laminated flooring in the property where inadequate sound insulation is proposed.
• Request to change rooms round where there are likely to be ‘stacking’ concerns.
• Request to install wooden flooring in properties above ground floor where noise nuisance issues have previously existed.
Where permission/consent is not given, the manager must write to the applicant and clearly state the reason/s why permission/consent is not granted.
APPLYING FOR PERMISSION FOR IMPROVEMENT WORKS WHERE LICENCE IS REQUIRED
These are applications that propose to alter the plan of the leased property or additions that will require amendment to the lease plan. Works that involve altering the structure of the building will require a deed of variation to the lease. This deed will make the leaseholder responsible for 100% of the future maintenance costs relating to the agreed alterations. The deed will incorporate the licence for the alterations and is processed by Leasehold Services.
The application must be made in writing and clearly state the proposed works that the leaseholder wishes to carry out. The leaseholder must also include the following:
• Copy of Building Control approval certificate.
• Planning Permission and Listed Building consent if applicable.
• Architectural/Building plans or good quality drawings of the proposed works.
• Any structural calculations or Engineer’s report if relevant.
Please note that failure to submit the required documents with the application will result in the application not being considered or the manager’s decision being delayed.
Please note that the Council’s covenant against alteration is a qualified covenant in that consent must not be unreasonably withheld.
APPLYING FOR RETROSPECTIVE PERMISSION/CONSENT FOR IMPROVEMENT WORKS
These are applications where works have already been carried out by the Leaseholder without written permission or licence from the landlord. This applies to alterations and additions within the leaseholder’s demise. Such requests should be given the same consideration as applying to carry out alterations – licence or non-licence as above.
It must be emphasised that each case must be considered on its own facts and merits and legal and technical advice must be sought accordingly. If Landlord’s consent/permission is refused, re-instatement of the property to its previous state will be required and should be instigated by the manager.
The Manager must ensure that in reaching a decision to withhold consent, the manager has reasonably taken into account all relevant considerations including Technical, Legal, Leasehold Services Team comments and the outcome of neighbours consultation on the works.
Appealing against a Decision
There is no formal procedure for appealing against an application that is not approved. If the Leaseholder decides to contest the decision, they can do so via the Council’s Complaint Procedure by writing to The Central Complaints Unit, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE. Email: complaints@Camden.gov.uk
Permission would normally be granted where alterations are required for disabled access reasons and they have been approved by Planning and Building regulations and will not affect other residents.
Guidance on applications from leaseholders for permissions to carry out Alterations and for Additional sales
Permission would not normally be granted
Risks and factors to be considered before granting permission Permission may be granted if
• If communal services in use
• If communal access • Area used for communal services which could not be moved or would be costly to move.
• Area is an amenity for other residents and if there are other leaseholders, they will probably have access rights.
Basement (Alteration requests- excavations)
• If basement is not of full storey height and alterations include excavations and diggings.
• If the L/H does not own the basement we do not have to sell the space.
• If L/H owns the basement, we cannot reasonably refuse the request so may need to present case to Panel. • Interference with the foundations potentially causing structural instability, damage, insurance issues if causes subsidence as a result and management problems.
• Risk of future damp problems and drainage issues of creating habitable area where previously non-habitable and costs would come back Council as part of the structure.
Any communal area- internal and external e.g. landings, balconies, hallways, light wells, meter cupboards, under stairs areas and bin sheds.
• If communal access • Permission not generally granted unless it could not normally be let to anyone else and it could be incorporated into the existing demise and the Council could not develop themselves;
• If other residents agreed to alteration through consultation still may have to change other leases rights of access;
• May cause window and light issues or other amenity issues for other residents;
• May be aesthetic issues for symmetry of building. Stairwell to top flat and only the leaseholder applying has access and its sale will not affect future maintenance and management of the property.
Additional storey to property.
• If above another resident’s flat (not their own) and would substantially change the roof
• See lofts and roof terraces below.
Additional dwelling to be created e.g. basement flat • No permission • Not allowed to sublet part of the property;
• Problems with relationship between leaseholder and their sub-tenant and Camden.
• Camden may have future development plans
• Where it is a communal garden whether at the back or front;
• Where it is part of a tenant’s tenancy (even if they do not want or use it)
• Where the use is non-recreational such as parking • Communal gardens are an amenity for all residents, current and future;
• Existing leases are likely to include rights of access and use of shared garden.
• The tenancy agreement does not allow use for commercial or business purposes.
Conservatories (Alterations) • If there would be access issues to the block e.g. where the conservatory would span the full width of the back wall and substantially affect future maintenance and management of the whole building.
• If above height of leaseholder’s flat. • Can cause scaffolding erection problems to carry out works to rest of the building in future;
• Access to underground drainage issues
• Rainwater run off issues;
• Any new opening in back wall may incur extra liabilities to Camden as the landlord;
• Other residents could pick up extra costs;
• The structure would encroach on other resident’s property.
Back Additions (alterations)
• If will create drainage issues;
• If the addition is above height of leaseholders flat
• may substantially affect future maintenance and management of the whole building • Access to underground drainage
• Overload of existing drainage
• The structure would encroach on other resident’s property
(sales and alterations)
• If communal access and amenity for others
• If landlord liabilities will increase • Usually communal area and gives access to other areas such as refuse bins and storage for other residents;
• Could increase landlord’s repairs liability including potential damp or structural issues (such as retaining walls in front gardens) if these liabilities could not be passed to leaseholder.
Lofts (sales) • If communal services in use e.g. water tanks
• If there is a communal access • Area used for communal services which could not be moved or would be costly to move;
• Area is an amenity for other residents;
• Other leaseholders may have access rights.
• If substantial changes to the roof structure, such as dormer windows are proposed. • Danger in giving repairing responsibility to leaseholder where there is a significant change in the roof as have responsibilities to other residents to protect structure.
• If Council retains responsibilities for dormer windows and roof alterations, it is likely to result in higher maintenance costs and charges to other leaseholders.
• Legal and administrative problems arising from splitting repairs responsibilities for roof structures.
• Administrative issues about managing non-standard leases and ensuring costs correctly apportioned • installing Velux windows
• If located above another resident’s flat
• If there is a communal access • Potential noise nuisance problems and leaks to flat below;
• Still a risk to other residents on floors further down the property. Potential leaks and overloading (causing cracks in back addition) may affect all residents below not just immediately beneath. If the leaseholder owned the space beneath the roof area but the effect on residents on lower floors should be considered
Flat roof/ roof terrace (alterations) • If located above another residents flat;
• If communal access
• If on main structural roof • Potential noise nuisance problems and leaks to floors below.
• Problems with splitting repairs responsibilities for surface and structure;
• If there are structural problems there could be access issues due to the leaseholder having to take up the terrace.
• If on main structural roof significantly altering roof – see lofts above for reasons.
If the leaseholder owned the space beneath the roof area but the effect on residents on lower floors should be considered
If there is a supplemental lease to cover additional costs of works to structure and to give responsibility for covering i.e. asphalt.
Applications for alterations to Internal areas within the Leaseholder’s demise.
Changing Rooms (Stacking)
• If living room or kitchen is over the bedrooms in other residents property.
• Noise nuisance and disturbances issues
• Leaseholder must get fire risk assessment report.
Windows • If new openings
• If new windows do no match existing
• If building is listed/head lease • Additional maintenance responsibility issues.
New Opening in walls • Generally allowed subject to Building Control requirements
Remove Chimney Breast
• If active flue;
• If Building Control do not allow
• If building is listed
Open up Fire places
• No permission • Additional repairs liabilities to Landlord
On the whole, permission/consent will not normally be granted where the alteration or sale:
• Would have a negative impact on the future management of the property or surrounding property;
• Is likely to cause structural problems to the building
• It would incur extra or potential extra management and management costs to Camden;
• It would adversely affect other residents
• If the proposal has been refused planning and Building Control consent.
• If suspected that a leaseholder may use the property for House in Multiple Occupation, the permitted use clause of the Right to Buy lease requires the leaseholder to keep the property as a self-contained residential flat. There are important management reasons for including this clause within the lease. Whilst all applications to carry out structural alterations will be considered on their own merits, any application to subdivide the flat or use it as a HMO is unlikely to be agreed.
• Under RTB (and secure tenancy) legislation the Council cannot give up responsibility for the maintenance of the structure of the building. The leaseholder is responsible for the cost of the Council maintaining what they do. Our standard licence for alterations requires a leaseholder to pay 100% of the future maintenance costs of the alterations. Licences only bind the current leaseholder (not future owners) so with structural alterations we incorporate the licence into a deed of variation (as deeds have to be registered and do bind future owners). If an area such as a loft or garden is also being purchased in order for the alterations to be carried out, then the area is sold on a supplemental lease.
• Asbestos Safety – Asbestos is not usually a problem if left undisturbed. However if asbestos is damaged, it can pose a risk to health. You should advice applicants in your response letter not to disturb items that may contain asbestos. If they decide to remove any asbestos from their homes, they should contact a licensed asbestos removal contractor to remove them safely. Details of licensed contractors can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s website: http://www.hse.gov.uk The onus remains with the leaseholder to ensure that the works are carried out in a good, workmanlike manner in accordance with the British Standards current code of practise, Building Regulations, London Building Acts, Party Wall Acts, etc.15th January 2019 at 15:39 #5072
Thanks; it is always helpful to know the internal documents.
But, as I read it although you may not require a licence in minor cases, you do need ‘the manager’s written consent’ and to supply safety certificates for any works to gas and electricity. I think it would be wise to get this written consent, and keep it.
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