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Leasehold alterations

Learn the process for making alterations to your property

The Council has a duty to consider requests for alterations from leaseholders. They have produced a new set of guidelines to help you through the application process.

Please read the guidelines before making your application.


You must seek written conditional consent before you start any work

Landlord’s written consent to alterations must be given by Tower Hamlets Council. If your proposal is accepted you will usually receive a conditional consent letter. This will set out a number of conditions which you must fulfil before formal written consent is provided.

You must seek consent from Tower Hamlets Council by completing our Alteration Application before you approach the Planning Department or Building Control. Without the formal written consent of the council you will be in breach of your lease and if you carry out unauthorised alterations you may be asked to put the property back to its original condition. The Council may also take legal action against you.

We manage the process on behalf of the Council and will submit applications to the Council for a decision.

Image of different tools on a work bench.
You will need to be clear in your application exactly what you are planning to do, how it will be carried out and who by.

Application requirements: 

In order for you to carry out an alteration in your property and after you have received written conditional consent from us you may have to:

  • Ensure your alteration is wholly contained in the part of the land/building under your ownership.
  • Provide us full details of the works proposed (including plans, drawings, and measurements).
  • Provide details of a reputable contractor with Public Liability Insurance of up to £1 million who will carry out the work to an acceptable standard that meets health and safety requirements.
  • Provide a Structural Engineer's report if removing internal walls (whether partition or supporting walls) and to ensure that the application does not cause damage to the structure of the building.
  • Ensure your service charge account is paid up in full with no monies owing on the account.
  • You may be required to obtain a council Building Control certificate, planning or compliance with fire regulations. These council department should only be approached once you have received written conditional consent from the council.

Complete an application

You must complete an application to seek written consent to carry out alterations to a leasehold property.

Image of two individuals at a table reading through a document.
Please read the guidance notes before making your application.

Reviewing your application 

When we receive your request and the fee (see table below), the Alterations Officer will review your application and liaise with you. Depending on the type of alteration, our Surveyor may visit your property. If you need to make any changes to your plans so that they meet our requirements, we will let you know what these are and what you need to do. 

When the Alteration’s Officer and Surveyor have agreed your alteration in principle, we formally apply to the Council for landlord’s conditional consent. You do not need to be involved in this part of the process as we will do it on your behalf. We will write to you to tell you when the Council has made a decision.


Your alteration may involve affecting a part of the building where asbestos is present. For example, if you are putting in sound insulation you may disturb either your property or have to (with the councils permission) go into the ‘reserved’ part of the building (that belonging to the Council).

After seeking the council's consent you must employ a contractor authorised to work and/or remove asbestos.


The following fees apply for alteration requests:

Type of Approval New Application Retrospective Application
Application fee £250

Minimum £350

See Retrospective Permission

Structural Surveyor £125-£180 £125-£180
Post Inspection £125 £125

Note these are largely the minimum fees payable. Additional fees will be payable for major structural alterations, or should the application become protracted, or if the proposal be complicated.

Surveyors’ fees are payable by the time spent on your application, we will charge:

  • £125 an hour for a structural assessment or a post inspection.
  • Re-inspection of remedial works – from £125

We will carry out a post inspection before a final consent or licence is issued. For specific works we may have to complete a Deed of Variation to your lease and your service charges payable could increase.

Other fees (as applicable):

Type of Approval


Legal Services


Valuation and Premium Fees


Floor Plan Request

From £450

Retrospective permission

Where alterations have been undertaken without the landlord’s written consent you will have to submit a retrospective application at a cost of between £350 and £2,000. In certain circumstances, such as conversions, the price may exceed £2,000.

The Council will make every effort to ensure that consent is not unreasonably withheld but are highly unlikely to agree retrospective permission for large scale works such as extensions or conservatories.

Where retrospective consent cannot be granted, you will be required to reinstate the property to its former condition.


Guidance notes