Tenants will often want to carry out works to a property when they move in so that it is fit for their occupation. But what if a tenant wants to make alterations to something other than the demised property, - for example to the structure?
Unless the lease provides the tenant with the right to carry out structural or external alterations, the landlord is not obliged to agree to them, and doesn’t have to be reasonable in its refusal. If a tenant wants to make alterations to something outside of the demised area, the situation is the same.
But what if a landlord is relaxed about agreeing to the proposed changes – what sort of things does it need to consider?
Along with ensuring that the works won’t have a negative impact on rent review - and that no other consents are required (either under the lease or in respect of planning) - a landlord should be considering the basis on which it is agreeing to the alterations.
Any consent should contain a reinstatement provision, requiring the tenant to put the property and structure back in the condition it was in before the works were carried out. Without this, a landlord will be left picking up the tab to return the property to a lettable condition, and any repairs to the structure – something no landlord will want!
In addition, a landlord may want an added level of protection so that it can be certain that the works are completed to an acceptable standard, and also reinstated upon the tenant departing. This can be achieved by:
a) the landlord taking responsibility for the works, with the tenant paying for them; and / or b) the tenant paying a bond to the landlord to cover the cost of such works being satisfactorily completed, and reinstated on expiry of the lease.
Landlords should bear in mind that, in such circumstances, the onus is on the tenant to satisfy the landlord’s requirements. Should the tenant fail to do so, the landlord can just say no!