Landlord’s consent to alterations
Landlord’s consent to alterations

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Landlord’s consent to alterations
  • Form of covenant
  • Qualified covenant—Landlord and Tenant Act 1927
  • Fully qualified covenant
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Application for consent
  • When is it reasonable to withhold consent?
  • Conditional consent
  • Code for Leasing Business Premises in England and Wales 2007 (the Code)
  • Practical points
  • more

Without some express or implied permission, a tenant is not permitted to make alterations outside of the demised premises: such access or works will constitute a trespass (see Practice Note: Alterations outside the demise). The guidance below applies to works intended to the demised premises.

Form of covenant

The tenant’s ability to alter will depend on the form of covenant in the lease. It is important to properly analyse the covenant to decide whether it restricts alterations, and if so to what extent.

No covenant

In the absence of any restriction on the particular works contemplated, the tenant is free to alter as it pleases. The tenant must be wary, however, of the tort of waste (see Practice Note: Landlord and tenant implied repairing obligations and the doctrine of waste).

Absolute covenant

A covenant that completely prohibits certain alterations is often described as an absolute covenant. The covenant should be analysed to check precisely what is prohibited. Even if the proposed works are not permitted, the tenant may be able to apply to carry out improvements under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 (LTA 1927). If the tenant follows the procedure in LTA 1927, the improvements may be completed, despite any prohibition in the lease. See Practice Note: Tenant's improvements.

Absent any application under LTA 1927 (and subject to any Equality Act