Freeholders can build 2 floors now without permission – How to object?

by Readers Question

11:08 AM, 28th September 2020
About a month ago

Freeholders can build 2 floors now without permission – How to object?

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Freeholders can build 2 floors now without permission – How to object?

Regarding the law passed by Sep 2020 – The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 632)

Without planning permission, the freeholder can add two stories onto existing blocks of three stories or more. What are our options to fight this absurd gift to freeholders?

For leasholders it will mean –

– Massive disruption
– Devalued apartments below
– Penthouses devalued
– Reports already of subsidence and leaks
– Parking and refuse issues

I haven’t read much here on this subject so could the leaseholders:

– Form a Right To Manage, meaning the freeholder’s agent (our RTM co.) is now working against the plans?
– Appoint a New Manager – requires only 1 leasholder to action this – and again stymie the plans? Until Labour – who object to this law – might gain power?
– Our existing lease does not allow any renewals so does this overrule the planning freedom?
They can’t enhance the car park in any way as per the lease so parking restrictions could bring success in a planning objection?

Ideas please.

Jon


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Comments

Lindsay Keith

12:34 PM, 28th September 2020
About a month ago

These are rumblings from a strictly non-property lawyer, so apologies in advance!
The argument for is presumably to emphasize the waste of footprint space in a small country that is a bungalow? Add a storey or even storeys (not stories, the things you read?) and you go up not out? More rent for same footprint?
Against is that the top floor goes progressively down as more floors are added? And skyline is changed, perhaps not for better?
You must need a very good architect and a structural engineer/surveyor to advise on seemliness and safety of the structure and a planner to cater for car parking , amenities etc.?
I fear the answer to Jon's question will involve digging into his pocket and instructing proper experts who know what they are talking about?

Ian R

13:12 PM, 28th September 2020
About a month ago

Along with the other Leaseholders, exercise your rights to enfranchise eg buy your freehold and become the freeholder. Don’t forget that the building regulations and fire reform acts all apply so any works will need proper assessment. Also, under your lease you may have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ therefore major disruption is a breach of the lease and you and the other lessees may seek a remedy or compensation for the breach. Going RTM or changing your manager isn’t going to change the freeholders plans. However if you have a L&T controlled building it may be a good thing for you. You only need 50% of lessees to join a RTM company and serve notice and in most cases 4 months later you are responsible for the management of the building as per the terms of the lease.

Paul Shears

16:29 PM, 28th September 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Lindsay Keith at 28/09/2020 - 12:34"The argument for is presumably to emphasize the waste of footprint space in a small country that is a bungalow?"
How about reducing the demand or is that an inconceivable idea?

Freda Blogs

16:32 PM, 28th September 2020
About a month ago

It will also be relevant whether the roof is demised to the top floor flat owner(s) or remains in freeholder's control.
Access to new flats will also be required, and may impinge on areas already demised to leaseholders.
Not all situations will be straightforward for freeholders or disastrous for existing leaseholders.

terry sullivan

17:00 PM, 28th September 2020
About a month ago

boris is pro uncontrolled immigration and hs2--the latter is really about mass building programme

Jon D

13:13 PM, 3rd October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Thanks Ian. Can you clarify L&T - Landlord & Tenant?
That then gives us RTM but as you point out we can't stop the process but can take a stand with communal areas, amenities and so on?

I understand from Leasehold Advisory that buying the freehold with 50% support of tenants will stop the plans dead in their tracks. But that is like herding cats.
(And buying the freehold is not that expensive. Those who have already extended get a better price and those who have not can extend for only the cost of the legals, I understand.)

Freda - I believe the partition walls are "severed medially" etc but I can check again - roof repairs for example, are collective responsibility so I assume not that of top floor owners.

As it stands I believe planning can reject in limited cases based on amenities, which don't support the extra flats. I understand they still enagage in request for comments.

terry sullivan

15:09 PM, 3rd October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jon D at 03/10/2020 - 13:13buying freehold will cost masses more now--it will reflect uplift due to 2 extra floors?

Ian R

17:03 PM, 3rd October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jon D at 03/10/2020 - 13:13
Hi, going RTM will not stop the Landlord as it only gives the ‘powers’ to uphold the terms of the lease and takeover the Landlords responsibilities for the management of the repair, maintenance & Insuring obligations. It not provide the RTM co with the power to ‘stop’ anything to do with extension of the communal areas. RTE (buying freehold) or building regs/fire issues are the key stoppers to obstruct work. Yes, L&T is Landlord and Tenant ;0) Regards Ian

TrevL

14:39 PM, 4th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Can't see many buildings being particularly suitable to being extended vertically. There will be exceptions to the rule, but with most buildings it will be technically too complicated and expensive.

Although can you imagine the pending panic in 10 years time of all the shoddy vertical extensions when a structural Grenfell tragedy occurs..... cue mortgage lenders not lending on flats in buildings that have been extended vertically....can just see there being an UP1 form to compliment the EWS1 form!!!!

May make demolishion and rebuild of delapidated buildings more common on the basis planning for two extra stories is more likely.

Jon D

12:59 PM, 10th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Agree Trev.. various issues from subsidence, leaks etc. And yes complex to extend the communal access, we'll be looking at open sky for months.
Maybe some dodgy metal staircase bolted to the side?

I maintain my point that if amenities cannot be improved / renewed / extended within the lease which is in force for this land, they will not be able to provide access / parking / changes to communal areas.


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