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Following changes in August 2020 to the General Permitted Development Order, there is now more freedom to carry out rooftop extensions of one to two storeys, taking away some obstacles for homeowners and developers to redevelop on top of existing structures. The aim of the changes was to assist in the revitalisation of towns. New ‘Homestreets’, where flats are built above existing commercial premises, may prove to be popular both by providing more homes and by supporting the local area by increasing footfall.

Whilst freeholders and developers may benefit from these changes, occupational leaseholders may not be so happy with the new rights.

Examples of common issues are:

  • cases of new storeys causing structural issues with landlords looking to the sinking fund or new service charge payments to cover costs;
  • current leases that allow use of rooftop spaces or include the airspace in their demise causing conflict;
  • a tenant’s quiet enjoyment covenant being breached as works interfere with their current enjoyment;
  • obstacles such as rights of lights, party wall issues and Health and Safety requirements; and
  • potential issues of a tenant’s right of first refusal.

It seems the changes have not been welcomed with open arms by everyone and whilst the basis for the changes is understandable, the devil, as always, is in the detail, as issues are beginning to become apparent.

For more information please contact Simon Painter.

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