It is important to remember, leasehold property is ‘shared’ property, where your neighbours are at close quarters. Carrying out alterations and improvements need to be done with due care to their concerns. Here are a few important tips on successful refurbishments.
- If your building holds Grade I or II listed building status, permission has to be obtained from the Council/ Conservation Officer for any work beyond repair and light redecoration. We strongly recommend you obtain pre-application advice before starting any work. Any breech will be your responsibility, and remember this could directly affect your neighbours if there is lots of publicity about such a case.
- If any structural work is planned engage a structural engineer to review plans before work commences, during and at completion of the work. You must obtain Landlord permission before work starts. It’s a good idea to get your Managing Agent on side also!
- Make sure your contractors are competent and hold good liability insurance. If damage is caused to the building outside of your flat you will be liable for repair costs, and this could run into thousands of pounds.
- Ensure noisy work or work that may cause vibration or potential distress to other property occupiers is restricted to ‘normal’ working hours (approximating to 9.00am to 5.00pm) on week days.
- Any external scaffolds, or ladders must meet all health and safety requirements, must not cause an unreasonable obstruction to traffic, pedestrians or access in and out of the property, and they must not leave the building exposed to an increased security risk.
- Power tools; use UK 240 Volt power supply and do not plug into communal sockets.
Fire, gas and water leaks are always risks when building work is underway. This could have a catastrophic effect not just on your flat, but throughout the building. Make sure your contractors take the necessary precautions to avoid these things happening.
- Make sure any rubbish, rubble or similar is promptly carried outside the building and does not cause an obstruction on the stairwells or hallway. And when taken outside it is placed in suitable storage (skip or similar), and that the storage item is appropriately positioned so as not to cause an unreasonable obstruction to traffic or pedestrians. Appropriate health and safety requirements must be observed in terms of lights/ notices/ barriers etc. When the work is finished all materials, rubbish etc. must be removed from site in a prompt manner.
- The managing agent may require you make good any damage to the communal areas. A useful tip is to get in there first. A voluntary carpet clean, or professional cleaners brought in can do wonders to build relations with your new neighbours. And perhaps a nice bunch of flowers to the little old lady on the floor below would not go amiss!
PM Property Services know building work and alterations can cause distress to other building occupants, sometimes to a degree greater than one might reasonably expect. We encourage leaseholders to contact us if there are problems. We cannot guarantee satisfactory outcomes, but we will always try to mediate!