Internal alterations: Layout changes

If your alterations change the internal layout of your flat as shown on your lease plan, then you will need a licence for alterations. Examples are adding or removing internal walls or creating an internal doorway. This licence is a legal document that changes your lease. You cannot start work until the licence is issued. 

Applications for a licence for alterations should be sent to leaseholder services for registration.

Fees

Our fees in producing a licence for alterations that involve internal alterations only are as follows:

  • Administration including lease plan amendment: £417 
  • Legal fee: variable

All alteration requests will be subject to you obtaining any necessary statutory consents such as Building Control approval. Building control approval must be in the form of a Full plans application. A building notice will not be accepted.  It is important to tell the relevant authority that you have a Camden leasehold property.  This will ensure you obtain the correct permission/consent.  You are advised to seek landlords consent before applying for statutory approvals.

Internal alterations: Non layout changes

If your alterations do not change the internal layout of your flat then you will not need a licence for alterations. Examples are replacing bathrooms or kitchens, electrical work, plumbing, or replacing flooring. You will instead need written consent. Applications for consent should be sent to the relevant neighbourhood housing team for consideration.

It may be that your alterations will involve both layout and non-layout changes. In this case you will need both a licence for alterations for the layout changes and a written consent from the neighbourhood housing team. 

If you carry out work before obtaining our consent, you may be required to return the property to its original condition.  If this happens you will have to meet the cost.

Installing renewable/low carbon energy technologies


Camden recognises the need to lead by example by reducing the environmental impact of our own estate and operations if we are to expect local people and businesses to take responsibility for their own actions and in doing so welcome applications for renewable /low carbon energy technologies.

Examples of such technologies, include, but are not limited to:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Solar thermal panels
  • Solar photovoltaic cells

Anyone planning to install renewable/low carbon energy technologies in their leasehold property needs to  obtain the permission of the Council as Freeholder.

Please note that any application requiring access to any “common”  area not forming part of the applicant’s own flat or house under their lease (e.g. the roof) will generally be refused, because of the  need that the Council has to safeguard the interests of residents in the building as a whole, in building management and health and safety terms.

Applications for areas within the applicant’s own flat or house or garden will be considered against the following criteria:

  • Impacts on neighbours
  • Impacts on maintenance
  • Impact on future planned works
  • Health and safety
  • Legislative requirements

All those considering making an application for permission are urged to consider the following:

  • Some technologies can, at present, be expensive to run if the property is not insulated appropriately (regular window and/or wall insulation may be effective)
  • Some installations can require changes to internal plumbing which can also be costly
  • Leaseholders generally will not be allowed to disconnect from the Council’s Communal Heating systems, the Council is evaluating how its heating networks can be decarbonised over time.

Anyone wishing to know about how Camden’s working towards a low carbon future can find out more here.

A Retrofit Programme for Council housing is being developed and this will look at the installation of insulation, solar photovoltaic panels, heating and glazing. Should you wish to know more about this,  please do not hesitate to contact Sim Dhinsa (Energy Performance Manager Sim.Dhinsa@camden.gov.uk

Installing wood-burning stoves

  • Burning wood or coal at home emits dangerous pollution known as fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5), which is linked to cancer, heart disease, asthma and other serious illnesses. Current evidence suggest that there is no safe level of PM2.5.
  • Burning wood or coal can harm the health of those living in the household, and their neighbours and is linked to premature deaths.

Anyone planning to install a wood-burning or similar style stove in their leasehold property needs to obtain the permission of the Council as the freeholder.

Any ‘new use’ application, where the flue is not currently in use or if the chimney breast needs enlarging, is likely to be refused. This includes:

  • Inserting a cooker
  • Fitting a wood burning stove

Any applications, where there is a flue already in use and the chimney breast is of adequate size, will be considered against the following criteria:

  • Impacts on neighbours
  • Impacts on maintenance
  • Impact on future planned works
  • Health and safety
  • Legislation

Asbestos

Asbestos is not usually a problem if left undisturbed. However, if asbestos is damaged it can pose a risk to health. You should not disturb items that you think contain asbestos. If you decide to remove any asbestos from your home you should contact a licensed asbestos removal contractor. Details of licensed contractors can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Types of internal alterations/usages that will not be allowed

Under the permitted use clause of your Right to Buy lease you must keep your property as a self-contained residential flat.  There are important management reasons for including this clause within your lease.  The following requests are therefore likely to be denied:

  • subdivision of a flat into separate units
  • combining two separate flats into one larger unit
  • using the flat as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) under the statutory scheme
  • using your flat for short term holiday lets
  • any scheme which alters the room stacking arrangement of the building causing a potential noise nuisance

Structural Alterations

Your lease does not allow you to carry out structural alterations. This is because the Council is responsible for maintaining the structure. However, the Council will consider applications to carry out structural alterations.  Structural alterations include, but may not be limited to, loft conversions, rear extensions and conservatories. As well as a licence for alteration you will also be issued with a deed of variation to your lease.

A guide is supplied here

If the area you will be developing is not in your leasehold demise then you must include purchasing the area as part of your application. Examples will be lofts or rear gardens.

The Council will value the area and sell it to you on a supplemental lease at the same time as the Deed of variation and licence for alterations are issued. Valuations are based on 35% of the gross development value of the area being purchased.

For information on the valuation please see the guide.

Our fees for structural alteration cases are:

Licence for Alterations: Structural alterations

  • Camden’s administration: £772
  • Legal fee: variable

Licence for Alterations: Structural alterations and purchasing additional land (e.g. lofts)

  • Valuation fee: £500
  • Camden’s administration: £778 
  • Legal fee: variable

Applications to carry out structural alterations should be sent to leaseholder services for registration.  Your application must include architectural standard drawings of your proposals.

All alteration requests will be subject to you obtaining necessary statutory consents such as Building Control approval or planning permission. It is important to tell the relevant authority that you have a Camden leasehold property.  This will ensure you obtain the correct permission/consent.  You are advised to seek landlords consent before applying for statutory approvals.

Types of work or usage likely to be denied

Under the permitted use clause of your Right to Buy lease you must keep your property as a self-contained residential flat.  There are important management reasons for including this clause within your lease.  The following requests are therefore likely to be denied:

  • subdivision of a flat into separate units
  • combining two separate flats into one larger unit
  • using the flat as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) under the statutory scheme
  • using your flat for short term holiday lets
  • any scheme which alters the room stacking arrangement of the building causing a potential noise nuisance  

The following developments are also likely to be denied:

  • developments which include basement excavations
  • loft conversions where the loft contains working Council services such as water tanks or pipework
  • developments on communal estate land
  • developments on communal shared gardens  

In the context of the above, we strongly advise leaseholders not to incur costs for architectural plans and professional fees if it is likely the development could be denied.