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freeholder trying to charge £10k for consent to a loft conversion?

(12 Posts)
utopian99 Thu 19-Dec-13 19:42:41

Hi, just wondering if anyone has had this and managed a way round it.
We own a leasehold flat in Walthamstow and have got planning permission etc for the loft conversion but now the freeholder wants to charge us £10k for the licence to alter. They claim we don't own the roof space but the lease doesn't specify that we don't.

Has anyone taken their freeholder on for something like this and got anywhere? We can afford maybe £2k in fees but anything else will kill the whole thing dead.

lalalonglegs Thu 19-Dec-13 19:55:09

If the lease doesn't specify that you do, then you don't. Tbh, I think £10k is a reasonable demand (in the context of these things) - friends were charged almost £30k a year ago. All you can do is haggle but I'd be really surprised if they come down to £2k. Taking them to the LVT could end up a very lengthy and ultimately expensive business. Sorry.

lalalonglegs Thu 19-Dec-13 19:55:38

If the lease doesn't specify that you do own it...

justbecauseimalondoner Thu 19-Dec-13 21:34:36

We were considering this with our flat. We never got as far as approaching freeholder. We did however consider what it might be worth to us and £10,000 would probably have killed it dead because once you had added the cost of the build, we would be up to the value of houses in the locality. There would have been nothing in it financially for us. Of course, it is not just about making money - but we decided it would be better for us to move.

However, we thought that our freeholder may have agreed for minimal cost as she used to complain about noise (she lived below). Putting on an extra floor would have made things quieter for her. Possible argument?

I think you would need to get legal advice on your lease. Ours was silent on the matter, but we did own the roof.

HaveToWearHeels Fri 20-Dec-13 10:41:53

As Lala says, if the loft space is not detailed then you do not own it. I don't think 10k is unreasonable, I very much doubt it will be accepted. I personally wouldn't accept 2k.

CallMeNancy Fri 20-Dec-13 10:42:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CallMeNancy Fri 20-Dec-13 10:44:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

utopian99 Fri 20-Dec-13 10:57:44

Hi and thanks to everyone for the advice - maybe we were being naive. It is our responsibility to maintain the roof, not the freeholder, so seemed like a good bet we owned it, plus the conveyancing solicitors said we did, but now I have challenged them to help us they say they don't handle disputes.

The good thing is our demand (at least for a couple of years) is pretty low. It seemed easier to do it now but as we spent only £172 on planning and £400 on the engineer - I'm an architect, so no professional fees - we have three years to start the work in, and are also thinking of clubbing together with the leaseholder below to buy the freehold.

Sounds like we just tell them to forget it and start negotiations to buy the freehold in a year instead, which our solicitor tells me will cost about the same, so we at least save on doubled up fees!

CallMeNancy Fri 20-Dec-13 11:05:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aliceinstow Mon 13-Jan-14 09:53:38

Hello Utopian99,
We also live in walthamstow and would also like to do a loft conversion. Could you tell me who your freeholder is so that I know if we're dealing with the same people? I'll let you know how we get on!
Thanks,
Alice

Sofiaest Tue 27-Oct-15 20:38:43

Hello,
I would like to know if you challenged the freehold and did you convert the loft at the end? Thanks

BerryLodgeSurveyors Wed 28-Oct-15 14:25:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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