The leasehold conveyancing team at Fridaysmove are often asked if it is possible to lay wood flooring in a leasehold flat.
The answer very much depends on the wording of the specific lease. In most cases there is a prohibition on wood flooring.
We find that many leaseholders in the UK ignore the covenant and install the wood flooring. This is very risky.
If there are no complaints you may get away with it in the short term, but when you come to sell the flat, a purchaser ( assuming their leasehold conveyancing lawyer picks up on this ) will be told about the leasehold covenant and it will soon become apparent that the lease has been breached. You would then either have to reinstate the previous floor covering or obtain a waiver – normally in the form of a letter or deed of variation - of the breach from the Landlord, for which you might have to pay a considerable sum.
The amount that the landlord will charge for such consent depends on how “commercial” the Landlord. We have seen plenty of cases where the landlord clearly recognise that they have a gun to your head ( especially when they know that you are selling ) and they then charge £1000 plus for a consent. This could also involve significant legal costs even if the Landlord consents to such a change. No approach to the landlord without the advice of a leasehold conveyancing lawyer.
One should also consider any other laws that may apply before laying down wood flooring e.g. Building Regulations . Building Reg's part E (sound proofing) applies to the levels of airborne and impact sound that are permissible to transfer between walls and floors of adjoining dwellings in rooms that are defined for residential purposes: including hotels, hostels, boarding houses, residential homes and apartments. Whilst this is not a new stipulation, Part E outlines that standards in all buildings must be improved for airborne and impact sound insulation for airborne sound on floors and walls and for impact sound on floors for conversions for new-build projects.
Before doing anything it is advisable to find out what numbers correspond to your current carpet underlay to see if they match or even improve with a wood floor and underlay.
We recommend that before you incur any cost or do any work on your leasehold property, you speak to your conveyancing solicitor or a member of the leasehold conveyancing team here at Fridays