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Alterations to a leasehold property

When do I need to have permission to alter my property?

You need to have our permission for all alterations which can include replacing a kitchen, bathroom, satellite dish, removing internal walls and replacing front doors.  

How do I apply?

You need to complete the Alteration application form  

You must submit plans and supporting paperwork to Dover District Council. We will look at your proposal and will, whenever possible give permission subject to certain conditions.

For all works please provide the following:

  • A layout plan of the whole property as it is now prior to the works including all rooms (even those unaffected by the works)   
  • A layout plan of the whole property as it will be after the works including all rooms (even those unaffected by the works)  
  • On the plans clearly show both the existing and proposed routes of plumbing if they are being altered  
  • For showers and wet rooms please include full details of how walls and floors shall be made waterproof 
  • For bathrooms, shower rooms and kitchens include details for mechanical air extraction systems showing how and where they will exit the property
  • For central heating systems include details of the existing and proposed location of the boiler, and how and where flue and pressure relief pipes will exit the building  
  • If you are removing any whole or part of a load bearing wall please provide a supporting structural engineer’s report (this is compulsory)

Does my property contain asbestos?

There is a possibility that your property contains asbestos-based building materials or components. You are advised to appraise yourself as to whether this should be the case. Should you find, or suspect, that asbestos is present and that your proposals may affect it, then you should engage only a member of the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association to carry out removal or adaptation works. On no account may asbestos fibres be released outside of your flat; nor may asbestos-containing materials or waste be carried through, worked upon or handled or retained in the common parts of the building or estate without adequate notice, of not less than one full week, being given of the proposed date of the commencement of the work.

Can I put my pipework or cables into the floor area or above the ceiling?

No. Unless the Council gives its specific permission no soil, waste, gas, water or heating pipework, electrical cables or any other services, components or equipment of any kind shall be chased into the floors above or below the flat, the external walls thereto or the load carrying walls therein. This is because this part of the structure remains in the ownership of the Council and does not form part of your lease.

What happens if I damage the structure while I am carrying out my alterations?

Should any part of the structure adjacent to the proposed works be found to be inadequate or to be adversely affected by the building operations, or should any part of any adjacent flat be damaged by those operations, then it shall be replaced, repaired or adapted as may be required by the Council at your expense.

Who can carry out works to my electrics?

Works to the electrical installations shall comply with BS 7671 and Part P: 2006 of the building regulations (2010 amendments) and must be carried out by a competent electrician registered as a domestic installer with NICEIC, IEE or ECA. Upon completion of the works the appropriate certificates shall be obtained and passed on to the Council.

Who can carry out works to my gas installations?

All Gas installations shall be carried out by a competent Gas Safe Registered Engineer. On completion of the work a Gas Safety Record shall be obtained and a copy passed on to the council.

Will I need any other approvals from the Council?

This conditional approval is provided by the Council in its capacity as Landlord and not in its capacity as planning or building regulation authority. Therefore in addition to this conditional approval you may also need to contact the Council to obtain their approval for your proposed alterations. For example building regulations or planning permission.

I want to replace my windows and front door?

Many leaseholders have or would prefer to change their front door with their own choice.  If you are considering doing this you must ensure that it is a Fire Safety front door and ask for our consent before you fit it. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires a fire risk assessment of the common areas only, This includes the front doors of individual flats. The responsibility to arrange the assessment lies with Dover District Council. So you should never alter your front door without taking advice from Dover District Council on the implications it would have on fire safety. Your front door should be a fire safety door fitted with a self-closing device to meet the current fire safety guidance for flats. Altering the letterbox or adding a cat flap can affect the fire safety of your building and the common escape routes.  

The reason that a Fire Safety door is essential is that should there be a fire in your property it will not easily burn through or let smoke into the communal area which could prevent other people  leaving the building safely.

If we give permission this does not relieve the Lessee from his obligation to pay toward the costs incurred by the Council in discharging its rights and obligations with regard to the maintenance, repair and improvement of the remaining windows of the block.  Also please note the new windows become part of the structure of the building and therefore the responsibility of the landlord under the terms of the lease.

When would you refuse permission?

The Council is not able to withhold consent unreasonably except so far as is necessary to regulate the use of the Premises in manner provided by the Act.