Can joint freeholder stop me making reasonable alterations?

by Readers Question

12:49 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

Can joint freeholder stop me making reasonable alterations?

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Can joint freeholder stop me making reasonable alterations?

I own the freehold of a upstairs self contained maisonette and someone else owns the freehold of the downstairs maisonette.

Whilst reading my 996 year lease it says that I must get consent from the other freeholder if I wish to make any alterations to my flat. My question is what can I do if he is not co operative and is not allowing me to make reasonable alterations. Obviously at some point when he needs to make changes to his maisonette he will need my permission but what can I do if he is not thinking this far and is just very difficult and wants to make me suffer?

Cheers

Joelroad block



Comments

r01

17:03 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

I always thought the freehold was on the ground the property stands on, so assume you own a share of the freehold.

Why do you fear he may object?? Why would he object to a perfectly reasonable alteration if it does not affect him? Is it because you feel your plans will cause him problems? If so, then he would not be being unreasonable if he refused as were the situation reversed you probably would - wouldn't you? Now be honest with yourself....

It seems at first sight you have already worked out in your mind that it is reasonable to you without even consulting him. A bit like a tenant decides it is perfectly reasonable to have a pet lion without considering the landlord's or anyone else's view, which then leads to blinkered thinking that the landlord is being unreasonable if they don't agree to this - even if it is completely reasonable to refuse to everyone else.

The word is "communication". Talk to him about what you are considering & would like to do/achieve and ask if it would affect him in any way before putting any official proposals forward or starting any work as there is almost always some middle ground. Above all, be prepared to accept his views as he has as much right to them as you to yours and you may just have to accept that you'll need to sell up and move to get what you want.

The same problem would exist if the freehold were held by a totally independent person. The simple fact is you have a lease with terms that you have accepted at the point of purchase and these same terms protect you from the other party doing something that could adversely affect you in return.

Joel Hearne

17:15 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi,

Yes I agree with you but there are times when you are simply dealing with a very unreasonable person. In this instance I was wondering if there was a process to follow where legally consent could be obtained if consent was not given for something deemed reasonable?

Thanks

Hazel de Kloe

11:40 AM, 5th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Have you already had experience of communicating with him? It sounds like you are unsure of how he may react in the first instance and therefore, the comment above seems like good advice, in terms of just sounding him out at this stage.

If your intended alterations affect any party wall, and he is indeed against this type of work being done, then yes, he could cause you problems. In a leasehold situation, even though you own a share of the freehold, you still have party wall issues to deal with, just as in any other 'attached' form of property. If he does object, then asking the advice of a party wall surveyor would be the best next step in my view. They will hopefully be able to advise you as to whether you should still pursue the matter.

Good luck!

Joel Hearne

17:35 PM, 6th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Hazel de Kloe" at "05/11/2014 - 11:40":

Hi Hazel,

Unfortunately I have, very slightly and he is not very friendly at all. I spoke with another neighbour who told me that he is a very evil and wicked man. I can sense I am going to have trouble with this person so wanted to explore what could happen in such a scenario, can I do anything legally to get consent? I dont have any party wall issues but I need to break a wall to create an extra room hence was wondering what I can do, if anything if I do not get his consent? I didnt want to breat the terms of my lease and break the wall while he is away from the flat as he may some how find out when I rent the flat in the future.

Hazel de Kloe

20:26 PM, 6th November 2014
About 4 years ago

How about the idea of speaking with your original conveyancing solicitor to see what his/her view is on the matter? if it clearly states in the lease that you need consent for any alterations from the other freeholder, and also have to adhere to building regs, then the likelihood is that there really is no way around it. By virtue of the fact that you need to break a wall means that as a joint freeholder of the building itself, the person you are talking about has rights. If I were you, this is the route I would pursue first.

The works will be pretty obvious when they are going on, so there will be no hiding the matter from your not-so-friendly neighbour!

You really have nothing to lose by at least approaching him in as friendly a manner as possible in the first instance just to offer up the possibility and then take it from there. With these matters, it is best to deal with it as matter-of-factly as possible and find out what your rights are from the professionals.

Joel Hearne

9:38 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Hazel de Kloe" at "06/11/2014 - 20:26":

Hi Hazel,

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. I will approach my solicitor to see what he says. I did actually try to speak with this guy in a very friendly way but he was very cold and unfriendly back, sort of just ignoring me and you could sense hostility . Shame you get people like that but such is life. I was reluctant to go to the solicitor straight away as my solicitor is quite ruthless with charges so wanted to see if anyone here might have experience with my situation.

Hazel de Kloe

18:14 PM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

You're welcome. 🙂

We own a share of freehold on a couple of places and have been very fortunate with the contact between other parties. I wish you the best of luck.

DanielLatto

11:04 AM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

Freeholders ... Unreasonable ?

Who would ever have believed that !


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