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Absent Landlord Do I Really Need To Find Them To Get Permission

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Hi I live in a mid terrace leasehold in Sheffield, there was over 600 years left on the lease when we bought over 12 years ago and we have a missing landlord indemnity, rent is £2.50  but we’ve never paid.

Recently we’ve been looking at converting the cellar into useable space like utility and game room, the subject was brought up that we might need permission from the freeholder. I started looking into how I could buy the freehold but it seems to be a lengthy process and obviously there would be cost involved. What I’m wanting to ask is, if the landlord has been absent since the 70s, and work has already been done by previous owner like the attic conversion, am I safe to go ahead with the work (no digging down required) 

The more I look into this leasehold business the more annoyed I am with myself for how naive I was, thinking that a 600 year lease is “as good as a freehold” and “it’s very common in Sheffield”, But to find that potentially I can’t put a deck up without permission just seems ridiculous. 

 

 

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Reality check.  Is the landlord going to make an unexpected visit to see if you have done any unauthorised work?  Probably not.  Is it work the landlord would be likely to object to? Doubtful.  Is it going to upset your neighbours such that they would track down the landlord to complain?  Tell next door what you are planning and if necessary reassure them you are not going to undermine their foundations.

 

The real issue occurs when you sell the house and the buyer’s diligent solicitor picks up that you have done this work without permission. It is a common occurrence that the owner has done some work without the permission of the original developer/ leaseholder/mortgage provider as relevant.   The buyer’s solicitor will probably insist you pay for indemnity insurance to cover the buyer in the unlikely event that there are costs or consequences arising from the missing permissions.  Might cost you £100 or so.  

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Posted (edited)

I don't think the freeholder is allowed to make an unexpected visit and 'check' on the property, nor are they allowed to refuse permission just like that.

 

If you're going to the trouble of converting the basement into habitable space then the cost of buying the freehold reversion will be a minor expense.

Edited by geared

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On 23/05/2020 at 16:31, dnairn8417 said:

Hi I live in a mid terrace leasehold in Sheffield, there was over 600 years left on the lease when we bought over 12 years ago and we have a missing landlord indemnity, rent is £2.50  but we’ve never paid.

Recently we’ve been looking at converting the cellar into useable space like utility and game room, the subject was brought up that we might need permission from the freeholder. I started looking into how I could buy the freehold but it seems to be a lengthy process and obviously there would be cost involved. What I’m wanting to ask is, if the landlord has been absent since the 70s, and work has already been done by previous owner like the attic conversion, am I safe to go ahead with the work (no digging down required) 

The more I look into this leasehold business the more annoyed I am with myself for how naive I was, thinking that a 600 year lease is “as good as a freehold” and “it’s very common in Sheffield”, But to find that potentially I can’t put a deck up without permission just seems ridiculous. 

 

 

1. Fist things first: does the lease contain a restrictive covenant that limits  your freedom to alter?

2. Also consider s.19(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 (yes, really) : http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/17-18/36/section/19

3. Is L's freehold reversion registered at HM Land Registry?

4. Note: do not rush to contact L, in case you jeopardise the Indemnity Insurance.

 

Best to take legal advice before doing anything.

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On 23/05/2020 at 22:03, ttparsons said:

Reality check.  Is the landlord going to make an unexpected visit to see if you have done any unauthorised work?  Probably not.  Is it work the landlord would be likely to object to? Doubtful.  Is it going to upset your neighbours such that they would track down the landlord to complain?  Tell next door what you are planning and if necessary reassure them you are not going to undermine their foundations.

 

The real issue occurs when you sell the house and the buyer’s diligent solicitor picks up that you have done this work without permission. It is a common occurrence that the owner has done some work without the permission of the original developer/ leaseholder/mortgage provider as relevant.   The buyer’s solicitor will probably insist you pay for indemnity insurance to cover the buyer in the unlikely event that there are costs or consequences arising from the missing permissions.  Might cost you £100 or so.  

My Ex-neighbour 2 doors down was a builder, he converted the basement into a gym and an office, the house had been sold twice now as a leasehold with no issues so Probably like you say we will pay an insurance which we would be happy to do. 

On 24/05/2020 at 11:22, geared said:

I don't think the freeholder is allowed to make an unexpected visit and 'check' on the property, nor are they allowed to refuse permission just like that.

 

If you're going to the trouble of converting the basement into habitable space then the cost of buying the freehold reversion will be a minor expense.

Agree just wished it was a more straight forward process :)

On 24/05/2020 at 20:12, Jeffrey Shaw said:

1. Fist things first: does the lease contain a restrictive covenant that limits  your freedom to alter?

2. Also consider s.19(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 (yes, really) : http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/17-18/36/section/19

3. Is L's freehold reversion registered at HM Land Registry?

4. Note: do not rush to contact L, in case you jeopardise the Indemnity Insurance.

 

Best to take legal advice before doing anything.

Thanks for this , can I PM you for more advice?

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