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John Knox
John Knox, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1155
Experience:  solicitor with 8 years experience
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Hi, We own a leasehold flat and made alterations a few years

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We own a leasehold flat and made alterations a few years ago without freeholder consent. We are now in the process of selling and have discovered we should have sought the freeholders permission. The freeholder is giving us the option of applying for retrospective consent, which he claims is costly and may not be granted. His other option is to make him an offer. What might the costs be for retrospective consent be?

Thank you for your question, I will do my best to help you with this.

The fees for retrospective consent should equate to the cost to the freeholder of scrutinising the alterations, in conjunction with his legal and planning advisors, in order to decide whether or not to provide retrospective consent. Unless the alterations are complicated and will take significant time to consider, I would not expect those fees to exceed £750 plus VAT.

The problem is that you are going to have to pay the fees and hope that you are awarded the consent, which is not an ideal position.

It would be preferable to pay more but have the certainty that your money will not be wasted. It may be that a payment of between £1,000 and £1,500 would secure the consent.

Please do let me know if you have follow up questions. I am happy to help.

Best wishes
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi John,


We went ahead and offered the freeholder £1500.

He replied to us as follows;


'The Landlord would presently agree to a retrospective licence being granted subject to payment of £3,250 + solicitors costs + the ground rent being amended to £200 per annum subject to review. This is open for acceptance for a 14 day period from the date hereof after which it will automatically lapse'


Is this a reasonable ammount...seems a little steep to me.

When we did the work we sought council approval and all the work was signed off. We have forwarded this paperwork to him so he knows the work all complies.


I don't want to aggrevate this guy any more and feel we have no option but to pay the money.


Any advise greatly appreciated.



Hi Lisa

He is holding you to ransom by the sounds of it! This looks like a money making exercise on his part.

You could make an offer of £2,000 inclusive and explain politely that that is the maximum you can possibly afford to pay. Then see what his response is.

If he refuses to be reasonable, you may have to make an application for retrospective consent and if he rejects it, you would end up at the Land Tribunal, letting the tribunal decide.

Clearly, it would be better to agree matters now. However, his opening gambit is far too high. I understand he will have solicitors fees to pay but very much question his need for a payday of £3250 plus an increased ground rent.

Best wishes
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi John,


I don't know if I mentioned that the flat is currently under offer. The buyer wants to extend the lease and has asked for costs. I believe that the increase in ground rent will increase the cost to renew the lease.


If we lose the sale can we extend the lease before a retrospective licence is granted? I'm thinking not?


What would be involved in reinstating it back to its original floorplan which may be a cheaper option for us? What restrictions or extra costs could he impose on us if we did this?




Hi Lisa

Would you mind giving me a positive rating before I provide further advice? I would be grateful.

Thanks Lisa

The Landlord is highly unlikely to agree to renew the Lease until you have somehow resolved the issue over the alterations.

It would seem a drastic step to restore back to how it was pre-alteration. Presumably the alterations have improved the property?

That said, if you did restore the property to its pre-alteration floorplan, you would not need any consent, would not incur any costs (vis-a-via the Landlord), and would not have any issue preventing you from obtaining an extension/renewal.

I think that you need to negotiate more with the Landlord before you consider drastic steps like restoring the property to its pre-alteration floor plan. You could use the threat that, should he unreasonably refuse your application for consent, you will ask the Land Tribunal to determine the issue.

Best wishes

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