A Licence to Alter is often required when a leaseholder wishes to undertake significant refurbishment to their flat. The extent of the permission/consent for works is largely dictated by the lease.
On behalf of our clients, we appoint as necessary a surveyor and a solicitor to act in the best interests of the building. They will deal directly with the leaseholder planning the works and any project managers or other professionals engaged by the leaseholder. Our role as far as licence to alter work is concerned is that of coordinator. The appointed surveyor and solicitor would be responsible for their elements of the licence – we provide the glue to bind all parties together for which we charge an administration fee directly to the lessee undertaking the works.
We recommend that any licence to alter procedure is reviewed regularly. We would also recommend that the surveyors and solicitors engaged to act on behalf of the client are used regularly to build familiarity and keep costs down for the individual lessees undertaking their works.
Although the licence to alter process is rarely perfectly smooth, we react swiftly to any new requests for licences and apply the agreed procedure.
We would always suggest that the agreed licence to alter policy is made clear to all leaseholders, particularly to any new owners who may wish to carry out a full refurbishment upon acquisition of their flat. We would certainly insist that the main contractor and his/her client (the leaseholder undertaking the works) are made responsible for any disruption/damage to the building and that the contractor provides the necessary proof of public and employers liability insurance, in the event that there is a claim resulting from the works being undertaken. This also serves the purpose of reducing the burden on the buildings insurance. The surveyors we work with recommend a significant damage deposit is retained in line with the extent and complexity of the project.
The vast majority of flat refurbishments requiring a licence are known about in advance and necessary permissions are finalised before works start. Retrospective licences may be necessary from time to time, however if your property has on-site staff, any owners suspected of carrying out major works to their flats would be halted in their tracks and we would be alerted. Our regular site visits would pick up on any signs of unauthorised alterations.
For more details of our licence to alter procedure or to receive a helpful guide to the process, please do contact us.