Improving your home
As a homeowner, you may wish to make improvements and/or alterations to your home. This page provides information on whether you are eligible to do so and how to identify improvements which might be subject to certain conditions, Local Authority Planning Permission or other regulations.
You need permission from L&Q to make improvements because L&Q own the freehold of your home.
- For Leasehold apartments / flats, L&Q normally own the building that you live in and the estate and land on which it stands. Your lease details the permissions required for improvements and alterations and we consider all applications for improvements and/or alterations affecting the building you live in and the surrounding areas. This includes communal areas, gardens, roof and loft space. This guarantees that the structure of the building remains safe for all occupants and ensures that any changes made do not adversely affect the rights of other individuals who live in the building.
- On occasion, there may be a different freeholder who owns the building, estate and land that your home is situated on. Permission is normally required from the freeholder if it is not L&Q.
- For leasehold houses, it is likely that you purchased your home through shared ownership and, as such, L&Q owns a share of the house. You need to have written permission from L&Q for certain alterations until you own 100% of the property and are the freeholder.
What we need you to provide
We deal with minor and major alterations slightly differently due to the level of work required to assess major alterations.
Please be advised that the following improvements do not need written consent, we are happy for you to proceed with:
- General re-decoration
- Fitted wardrobes/cabinets
- Replacement carpet flooring. This doesn’t include hard flooring for example wooden and tiled
- Replacement of interior light fittings and general accessories for example curtain poles
When you wish to make either minor or major alterations to your home you must:
- Complete the Home Improvement Request form and email it to email@example.com. To prevent delay with assessing your application please can you be as detailed as possible with what works you intend to carry out.
- Based on the information you provide we will then confirm whether we require anymore documents in order to process your application and the costs involved
The process explained
We will then advise you of the outcome and if the alterations/improvements require changes to your lease, we will request your solicitor's details in order for your lease to be varied.
Our postal address is:
Your questions answered
Will making improvements affect my lease agreement?
For most home improvements the answer is no. However, if alterations are major ones, such as moving a wall, this may affect your lease. Any legal costs incurred to make the necessary changes will be your responsibility. We will advise you if this is the case and of the costs involved before your application is processed any further.
If the alterations are significant you may also need the permission of the bank or building society who lent you the money to buy your home.
What does L&Q’s administration fee cover? Are there any other costs that I will have to pay when applying to making improvements to my home?
We appreciate that it may be hard to understand what costs will be payable at this time and we therefore hope to advise you of the likely costs so you can decide if you wish to continue. Such costs would need to be paid before written permission for the works will be granted.
How do I pay the fees?
You may pay using a credit or debit card by calling the Home Owner Options team. Contact details are at the end of this page.
What if I have already carried out improvements without first receiving written permission?
If you carry out improvements without our written permission you are in breach of your lease. We will deal with your application in the same way as if you had asked first and you will need to apply for approval for the unauthorised work immediately. Any costs incurred to provide retrospective authorisation would be your responsibility to pay until permission is granted.
If you cannot prove you have received written permission from L&Q for any improvements or alterations you have carried out this may affect any future sale of your lease and we can pursue legally.
What improvements need Planning Permission and/or Building Control approval?
It is always best if you approach your local authority to answer this question, however from our experience, planning permission is required with changes to the use of land and the external appearance of buildings. If the property is listed, in a conservation area or the plans involve external building work, you should contact your local authority’s planning department.
Building Control approval ensures that building work meets certain requirements relating to health and safety, energy conservation, etc and more recently certain types of electrical work. The level of Building Control approval will be advised by the local authority’s building control department. Fees may be applicable for these services which are nonrefundable.
What types of alterations are likely to be refused permission?
We will always consider an application, however from experience, we will not allow you to:
- Convert a basement
- Purchase an area of land or a building element outside of the current demise of your lease.
In addition to this, Right to Buy and Right to Acquire leases require the leaseholder to keep the property as a self-contained residential flat. Any application to subdivide a flat is unlikely to be agreed.
Why do I have to submit certificates for gas and electrical work?
During the process we ask that certain documents are provided to assist with assessing your request. When certain works are carried out, we will ask for confirmation of these works and should they affect the gas and/or electrical supply, we ask for gas and/or electrical certificates to be provided. This is for your own safety and due to the nature of the work, we must ensure that the work has been carried out in line with current regulations. Your contractor will provide you with the appropriate certificates.
If you do not send us the certificates, we will send out an engineer to inspect the work and issue the appropriate certification. The cost of this will be your responsibility.