Replacement windows in a leasehold flat?

Replacement windows in a leasehold flat?

14:18 PM, 20th December 2022, About A year ago 13

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Hello, The old uPVC windows in the leasehold flat I rent out need replacing but I am not clear if this is the responsibility of the Lessor or Lessee.
If it is my responsibility do I need the permission of the freeholder & can they charge for giving this?

The lease says:
“the Lessee shall not make any structural alteration in the premises without the written consent of the Lessor.”
Are windows classed as a “structural alteration?”

To confuse matters further, later in the lease it refers to “Reserved Property” which it lists as:
“all those main structural parts of the building forming part of the property , including the roofs, foundations & external parts thereof (but not the glass of the windows of the flats nor the interior faces of such of the external walls as bound the flat) & all cisterns, tanks, sewers, drains, pipes, wires, ducts & conduits not used solely for the purpose of the flat & the joists & beams.”

“The Lessor shall keep the Reserved Property & all fixtures & fittings therein & additions thereto in a good & tenantable state of repair decoration & condition including the renewal & replacement of all worn or damaged parts provided that nothing herein contained shall prejudice the Lessor’s right to recover from the Lessee or any other person the amount of value of any loss or damage suffered by or caused to the Lessor or the Reserved Property by the negligence or other wrongful act or default of such a person.”

Opinions would be much appreciated!



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Laura Delow

10:13 AM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

You will need permission from the leaseholder for which you'll pay a fee but I would first ask if they are planning to upgrade the windows & serve a section 20 in the near future.

Adrianne Major

10:24 AM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

2 years ago I told my freeholder that I needed to replace my double glazed windows. My son was intending to do the work. I sent pictures of the ordered windows from the manufacturer and the freeholder was happy with that. They did not charge anything. In another flat, 16 years ago I did not get permission I just went ahead and did it. That probably would not be a good idea today. Too many rules and regulations.

Ian Cognito

10:49 AM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

Is this a purpose-built block?
When was it built (or converted if not PB)?
How many flats?
Do the UPVC windows appear to be original?
Do any other flats have replacement windows (ie. is there a precedent)?
The lease does not appear to be very well worded if it makes no reference to windows (ie. including the frames) only to glass. In my non-expert opinion this is ambiguous as it is impractical that the responsibility for wiindow frames is split external/internal.
I would be interested to read comments from those in the legal profession.


11:16 AM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

As is frequently advised, the lease dictates and should be your first port of call, which you appear to have done. Leasehold is difficult to generalise and its not uncommon to have different lease terms in the same block.

In olden days, when some builders built brickwork directly off timber frames, windows were very much a structural element; nowadays, less so. So, unless your lease is explicit, it's a grey area.

Many (but not all!) leases include window frames in the lessors responsibilities, with the glazing down to the lessee. Again, your lease will dictate.

Even if your responsibility, you will still need the freeholders permission if you need to erect scaffolding, say, or otherwise encroach on common parts to do the job.

FWIW, I'd contact the freeholder/managing agent for their understanding of the matter and look for a solution that benefits you both.


12:51 PM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

I have a flat in a 1970s built block ( share of freehold). The single glazed wooden windows were shot or expensive to keep repairing or painting. When i asked about replacing them 7 years ago I was told to just go ahead. When I asked 3 years ago I was told to check with the council and also submit plans and ensure FENSA compliance to the management company. Having seen that half the windows in the block had been replaced by UPVC double glazing anyway I decided to just go ahead as scaffolding and trees that were in situ anyway would hide the change. It's one of those. I know people who jump through all the hoops and get endless red tape and delay when they 'do the right thing'. I took a risk I know but fitted proper FENSA approved windows in keeping with the block. I felt mine were much better and in keeping than some in the block. I believe the council would have insisted on keeping the rubbish wooden ones despite the fact that 1/2 the block was now UPVC anyway.
In the name of progress.....


12:52 PM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

The starting point here is RTBL. Read The Bl**dy Lease ... to clarify where the flat stops and the rest of the building begins. You need to the words which describe the Demised Property.

From what you have said about the Reserved Property (that which is not demised to any flat), the glass in the window frames may be demised ... but the window frames are not demised.

Before you do anything, speak with the freeholder and/or managing agent (not letting agent) and get confirmation in writing of their view/position.


13:00 PM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by yl2006 at 21/12/2022 - 11:16
Most windows are done from the inside so probably no need to encroach on common areas or use scaffolding

Ian Cognito

13:25 PM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Crossed_Swords at 21/12/2022 - 13:00
Don't see how. Even if it's a brick building (ie. no external render to break-off) and the window goes in perfectly, there will still be an external gap between frame and wall to fill.


13:53 PM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by geester24 at 21/12/2022 - 12:51
Having to completely renovate a rental to live in for a couple of years, I faced the same issue with rapacious freeholders - they wanted money to grant permission - and then have to obtain planning permission from the council - yet more money down the khazi - I decided to go ahead without both. The replacements were completely in keeping with several other flats' windows and if either the council or freeholder want to make an issue out of it, good luck proving it was me wot done it. Bunch of robbers.


14:08 PM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Cognito at 21/12/2022 - 13:25
Just done it for a whole block - all done from inside each property. Don't take my word for it - ask your local window company

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