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Bingley Bloke

What Changes Can You Make To A Leasehold Property?

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A short while ago I was looking at a one bedroom apartment that I really liked. The only issue with it was that one of the internal walls was badly planned and I realised that I could redesign the interior to make much better use of the space. If you have a leasehold property are you actually allowed to make such physical changes to your home or does the freeholder have final say in such matters?

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A short while ago I was looking at a one bedroom apartment that I really liked. The only issue with it was that one of the internal walls was badly planned and I realised that I could redesign the interior to make much better use of the space. If you have a leasehold property are you actually allowed to make such physical changes to your home or does the freeholder have final say in such matters?

It is up to the freeholder but it is possible to get their consent. The freeholder of a btl flat I bought had no problem with me removing an internal wall.

But he is not happy that someone else in the conversion has bricked up a couple of windows without asking.

Write a polite letter or e-mail to the freeholder. He/she may well have the same thoughts but it will also depend on the extent to wish to go to.

Are you sure that the wall you want to move/remove are not load bearing? If not you shouldn't have a problem.

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A short while ago I was looking at a one bedroom apartment that I really liked. The only issue with it was that one of the internal walls was badly planned and I realised that I could redesign the interior to make much better use of the space. If you have a leasehold property are you actually allowed to make such physical changes to your home or does the freeholder have final say in such matters?

A leasehold is leased from a freeholder (the owner) and the lease will include the range of respnsiblities the lessee has regarding upkeep. Clearly, moving walls would breach most such clauses, so as enrob is right, tho I have this caveat:

Whilst I understand the urge to splurge etc, I'm not sure you "get" the idea of all this spot-the-potential-knock-it-thru-tart-it-up culture. It is all about increasing the capital value / releasing potentially higher rental yields. Why the hell would you want to do that for somebody else?

If you must seek out "potential" why bother with anything but freehold or commonhold? I suppose if the freeholder is paying... in which case you kinda couldn't get away with asking ... :D

Edited by Sledgehead

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Why the hell would you want to do that for somebody else?

Because it would significantly enhance the usability of the apartment for me, add value to the experience of living there and increase my happiness. It's not all about making money you know, it is actually about living and being happy too... but if its value had increased by a larger amount when I came to sell it as a result of the changes then that would go in my pocket, not the freeholder's.

If you must seek out "potential" why bother with anything but freehold or commonhold?

Because I want an apartment in this particular development. The location is perfect for my requirements and I love the building. Freehold is not available on apartments and commonhold (I assume that's the same as 'share of freehold') is a nightmare because you have to be actively involved in stuff like maintenance and negotiating with all your neighbours who to use for this. Fine if you've got loads of time on your hands or you're as rich as your neighbours who may be happy to use more expansive maintenance contractors than you are, as my mate found out to his great expense on a SoF property.

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If you want to make an alteration to your leasehold property you would have to check your agreement. If you are determined to go through with the work, do it without mentioning it to the landlord. If you ask permission nine times out of ten you will fail. It’s a lot less trouble for them to tell their managing agent to tell you no rather than yes.

You will have to reinstate the property if you move on. Although leaseholder are not subject to property inspections as are short hold tenants, you will find I won’t take long before a neighbour or residents association chairman or the like to dob you in.

One of my long leaseholder did it. He knocked two rooms into one, whilst I was sitting in my car at the back of his flat I saw car head light beams where they shouldn’t have been shining on his second bedroom window from the inside.

He got found out by the managing agent having to come round to estimate the damage from a leak from the above flat.

Good luck with your project

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A leasehold is leased from a freeholder (the owner) and the lease will include the range of respnsiblities the lessee has regarding upkeep. Clearly, moving walls would breach most such clauses, so as enrob is right, tho I have this caveat:

Whilst I understand the urge to splurge etc, I'm not sure you "get" the idea of all this spot-the-potential-knock-it-thru-tart-it-up culture. It is all about increasing the capital value / releasing potentially higher rental yields. Why the hell would you want to do that for somebody else?

If you must seek out "potential" why bother with anything but freehold or commonhold? I suppose if the freeholder is paying... in which case you kinda couldn't get away with asking ... :D

I think you are confusing a freeholder with a btl landlord.

Any profits from improvements, with the freeholders consent, will come to the leaseholder.

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Cheers folks. As I mentioned in my first post, this isn't an apartment I'm actually buying, it's just one I looked at a while ago which has since sold. It had as much floor space as a number of much more expensive two-bed apartments in the same development. Normally I'd need a two-bed but this one would do perfectly if one of the partition walls was repositioned. However, given folks' comments, it seems like it might be something of a hassle to make such a change if it, or one like it, comes up for sale again, so maybe I'd be better off waiting until prices have fallen and my wage has gone up and buy one that's right to begin with. I couldn't afford it right now anyway but it would have been a viable alternative to a much more prohibitively expensive two-bed if the price:wage ratio changed a bit in my favour and I was allowed to make the required change to it, but I wouldn't want to have to change it back as it would probably involve re-laying the laminate floor... twice! I'd only do it if the freeholder could see the added value and was happy to let it stay like that.

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I think you are confusing a freeholder with a btl landlord.

Any profits from improvements, with the freeholders consent, will come to the leaseholder.

For a split second I allowed myself to think like the landed gentry, to whom, in the end, leases return. But I guess for the vast majority, for whom rolling wealth down thru the generations is an irrelevance, yours is the major consideration.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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