Permitted use of premises – to change use often requires written consent of the landlord

Wondering whether you’ll need your landlord’s consent to make changes to rented business
premises? You’ve come to the right place. There are clauses and variations of a lease contract
that you should know about in order to make an informed decision about making changes to a
rented commercial property.

Making alterations to the premises

Unless you have a specific agreement written into your that allows you to make
changes to the premises you will have to obtain your landlord’s prior consent, usually
in writing.

In cases where small unauthorised changes have been made without landlord’s consent, but to which the landlord does not object, a retrospective Licence for Alterations can be issued if necessary.

Getting a consent letter from landlord

Unless the lease specifically states otherwise, the landlord will have to grant permission for any alterations to the premises. This is usually in the form of a Licence for Alteration. The landlord should reply within a reasonable time frame.

When applying for permission you should include any drawings or plans of the proposals, (which should be professionally drawn), along with any planning permission consent and building control approval. If any of the alterations are against a party wall, consent from the neighbouring owner should be sought.

What if Landlord is unreasonably withholding consent alterations?

As stated above, landlords should reply within a reasonable time to your request. If the matter is urgent then a note regarding timescale should be added to any supporting documentation. However, if a landlord unreasonably turns down the application then an appeal in writing should be your next step. If this is unsuccessful then your next step should be to seek legal advice and prepare for possible litigation. For more information about when you may need to get a colicitor involved, read our informative article, “Do You Need a Solicitor for a Commercial Lease?”

As you can see, making alterations to premises, or changing the use of premises is not always straight forward. A great deal depends on the commercial lease that was signed at the beginning of your tenancy. Finding a trustworthy specialist solicitor will help you stay well informed of your rights and also offer you valuable advice at every turn.

For details on the best way to proceed with any question relating to you making alterations to a commercial lease agreement, contact Kaiser Solicitors for expert, honest advice in plain english.