Permitted alterations and unauthorised alterations

Alterations to Commercial Premises

Can the tenant make alterations?

Before making alterations to its premises, a tenant needs to consider the terms of its lease and whether planning law is relevant.

The lease may permit certain alterations but the landlord’s consent is likely to be required for anything significant.

Depending on the nature of the works, and the nature of the premises, there may be a need to obtain planning permission, listed building consent, conservation area consent or Building Regulations approval.

The need for landlord’s consent

If the landlord’s approval is needed, the tenant should make a formal application for consent. The tenant should provide full details of the proposed works. The landlord should then make a decision about whether to give consent within three weeks or so. If the works are to be approved, a licence to alter will be entered into.

It is usual for the tenant to pay the landlord’s legal and other professional costs (e.g. surveyors, architects) in connection with the proposed alterations.

Unauthorised alterations

If works are carried out without the landlord’s consent, the landlord will need to consider how to respond. If the landlord does not object to the alterations, it may decide to give retrospective consent to them. If the landlord is not happy for the alterations to remain it will need to take legal advice on possible courses of action and remedies.

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