Bit of a tricky one this (boxing in outside porch to GF flat)

18 Aug 2008
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United Kingdom
Someone I know wants to do this to make approximately 2.5m2 of floor space (enough to store a washing machine which would make some room in the kitchen).

Many of the flats on the estate have done this, however they have all been first or second floor flats with a balcony, all except one other ground floor flat, the owner of which was taken to court by the managing agent recently on the basis 'it defaced the building'. They lost the case, and so he's been allowed to keep it.

The arrangement is actually quite pleasing to the eye, because each block of flats has an outside rubbish chute on the face of each building, with a balcony either side, and as there is a wall surrounding the enclosure of the porch, people have built in pvcu windows (first and second floors), around the perimeter of the balcony walls to make space inside.

The issue now is, how to proceed now? I don't feel it would be a good idea to ask permission, as the agent will say no without consideration, however I'm not sure it wise to proceed without notifying them at all. There is also no conversation to be had about design considerations, as the front people they employ are residents themselves. It's pretty clear they are taking an anti-social approach based on how they treated the chap whose done it already, in fact he gained verbal permission from someone previously on the board whose since left (last year) due to bickering, pointless drama, etc etc, which formed part of his defence.

Anyone with any information ? It would be much appreciated.
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There are many details you have left out which are fundimental in enabling us to give advice.

1) You say it is a flat....and you mention an agent.

Is this flat leasehold? Who is the freeholder? A managing agent (as you imply)? A housing association? Other residents on the site (collective freehold).

Usually, as stated in your lease, you do not have the ability to affect change to the external structure of the property as you do not techically own it. Hence, the ability to make structural changes of any kind are carried out by the freeholder or with the permission of the freeholder.

You need to check your lease.

It sounds like you know the score and want thoughts on going ahead regardless. The outcome of that is hard to say. There is a precident with the other person you mentioned.....but it is hard to say what the outcome would be for you.

LEASE is a free and confidential advice service for leasholders such as yourself. They can help with the legalities of your situation..

However, as I said, if you do not own the external structure, you should not be touching it.
Hi dishman,

As far as I'm aware the flat owner has share of freehold. Not all flats have this.

I was aware the external part of the building is owned, however over twenty flats have boxed in their outside porches, but only one of them on the ground floor, this is the predicament. If one person is allowed it, then everyone is allowed it. Do you have a link to the LEASE advice service you mention? I can't seem to find any specifics such as contact e-mail/phone, online.
It's not really a building question.

You need to speak to the owner, the agent or a solicitor, not people on a DIY forum....
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