With net zero targets getting ever closer, most Registered Providers (RPs) are now in the full throws of retrofitting existing properties and planning a strategy of works for the future. So now you have decided to do the works, what are the next steps in terms of legal issues?
One of the key things that will need to be in place before any works are carried out is lender consent. If the properties are in charge to a funder or security trustee then consent may be needed in order to do the works. This is particularly important when creating new rights or easements across the land in charge as these are not always obvious at the outset of any works but do affect the title and therefore will not be able to be registered without the appropriate consents. Consent will also be required where boundaries are being altered, new access ways created or any legal document between the parties is to be registered against the title. Depending on the nature of the works, this may occur if new heat pumps are being installed to serve a building or estate or pipes and cables are being diverted or laid.
Installation of PV panels being fitted to tenanted properties as part of retrofit works would also likely attract lender consent. These are generally affixed to properties by way of a lease between the freehold owner/RP landlord and the tenant (and sometimes the PV provider) in order to set out the obligations of repair and maintenance and to create the necessary rights to carry out such maintenance. This creation of a new lease would attract lender consent as it alters the nature of the title and would need to be registered at the Land Registry.
Where properties are held under a long lease (i.e. the owning RP is the tenant) it is likely that landlord consent would be required for works that affect the property structure or exterior or alters any access or creates new rights or easements. This consent should be sought prior to the start of any works on site otherwise there is a risk of breach of the tenant covenants in the lease, which in turn could lead to the landlord being in a position to forfeit. Some landlords of long leases may be hard to track down or may have changed since the start of the lease and so this process should be started as early as possible to avoid delays.
Next Steps for RPs
- It is important to review all legal title and leases of properties when considering retrofit works in advance of the works in order to compile a summary of consents required.
- Identify bespoke clauses in either existing long leases or homeowner shared ownership leases that may need reviewing to carry out retrofit works i.e. repairs and maintenance provisions, the ability to undertake works as tenant or landlord, restrictions that may need to be complied with or potential boundary issues for access to do works, and;
- Conduct highways searches to check potential access issues.
For further information or assistance in obtaining lender consents, reviewing long leases and shared ownership leases or conducting highways searches, contact Natalie Owen.
Get In Touch
How We Can Help
Navigating the complex landscape of providing housing that benefits both residents and landlords presents a significant challenge. With a team of experts possessing extensive knowledge in social housing, residential and commercial development, planning and construction, as well as expertise in housing management, employment, finance, funding, corporate, and commercial law, we are committed to assembling a dedicated advisory team for you. Our goal is to support you in achieving your objectives and addressing the current supply shortage.
Our experience in social housing and understanding of many different delivery models means we are an ideal legal partner for your later living concept.
Our Latest Social Housing Updates
Real Estate & Planning
The Importance of ‘Lift and Shift’ Provisions to Registered Providers
Real Estate & Planning
Home loan scheme – you might consider winding up the structure now
Real Estate & Planning
Avoiding voids – how RPs can alter tenures to support their housing goals
Spring 2023 update: Welcome changes to the charities act disposal regime
Our experts are here to answer any questions you might have
If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please fill out the enquiry form. We will aim to reply to your query within 2 hours
Need to talk to someone sooner? You can call use at the number below