Question: I own a ground-floor flat and also own the freehold jointly with my neighbour who has recently expressed an interest in converting the loft space above their flat, to which I have no objections.
Are there any legal requirements that I should seek to put in place prior to any work commencing?
Answer: If the loft space does not come within your neighbour’s lease then a deed of variation should be agreed in order to incorporate the area.
In this scenario, as the loft space is owned by both you and your neighbour as co-freeholders (or landlord), you would be entitled to ask for some money for the transfer of this area into your neighbour’s ownership.
Advice on the valuation should be obtained from a qualified surveyor. You would also need to consider the statutory right of first refusal, which obliges a landlord to offer all qualifying leaseholders the opportunity to purchase any part of its premises prior to a disposal taking place.
Where your neighbour’s lease contains a prohibition against alterations without the landlord’s consent, a record of formal consent should be agreed, being either a licence for alterations or a more informal letter of consent.
Due to the additional weight that a loft conversion will put on a building, you should ensure that your neighbour has, as a minimum, obtained all consents, informed the insurers and served party wall notices on neighbouring properties, if relevant.
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.