9:24 AM, 16th December 2016, About 5 years ago 7
I live in block of flats with my family (wife and 2 daughters). The block has got 47 flats in total. The first 45 flats are in the main block and 46 & 47 are at the back of main block. If you imagine like a detached house, Flat 46 is ground floor flat and Flat 47 (my flat) is on the first floor. My flat has flat roof and recently I had applied for planning permission to build an additional storey on top of my flat. There are no adjoining flats apart from flat 46 which is below mine.
The local council has approved the planning application and granted me the planning permission to build the additional storey.
To start the work, I also need to get the consent from the freeholder to carry out the construction.
The freeholder is a freehold company formed by 33 lease holders of our block and I also hold a share in the freehold ltd. company (i.e. share of freehold as well as 999 years head & sub lease). The directors of freehold company are responsible to take decisions on behalf of this company.
When I applied for permission from freeholders, they refused it due to following reasons
1. Noise pollution
2. Structural Soundness
3. Variation to all the leases
4. Neighbour below my flat (46) is not willing to give permission as he thinks it will affect value of his flat
5. I don’t own the entire freehold
To address these concerns I have had a meeting with the Freehold directors as well as managing agents and I gave them presentation as follows. It also included professionally drawn building plans. I have also informed the freeholders on each step of the process as required by planning application process.
1. Noise Pollution : work will be carried out only during normal working hours
2. Proof of sound Structure : I already have planning permission and I have structural engineer in place who can give his calculations and based on those calculations we can address the query. If it is not sound then there is no question of building the additional storey
3. Variation of all leases : The original building was constructed in 1930’s and Flat 46 & 47 was constructed in 1980’s and has different leases to others. I am ready to pay for legal expenses related to my lease and seeking opinion if all the leases needed to be changed. If that is the case it will be a substantial cost which makes it not worth.
4. Neighbour’s concern : I have called for 2 local estate agents to give their professional advice on concern raised and they both confirmed in writing that the value of the flat below will have no effect due to my extension.
5. I don’t hold the entire freehold.
In addition to this I have informed the directors that I will be doing all the due diligence in this process i.e.
Insuring the work
Engaging professional builder with right insurance
I am ready to pay additional service charge due to additional space
In the alteration clause of the lease it states that I need to get a consent from the freeholder for any work proposed (submitting drawing and plans) and the freeholder can’t withhold their consent unreasonably.
I would like to know if the reasons given by freeholder are considered as reasonable or they are unreasonable and there is a case to proceed if I take the legal route.
I have already spent few thousands for planning permission and building plans etc and would like to know if it is worth going to a solicitor to seek advice.
Anyone has come across similar situation or have knowledge of the same, need help.
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