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Loft conversion done by co-freeholder without my permission

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  • Loft conversion done by co-freeholder without my permission

    I've done plenty of searching but haven't found any threads quite the same as my 'unique' situation. Thanks in advance for taking time to read it.

    I own a flat in a property comprised of 2 flats (it's an old Victorian flat conversion) with a 50% share of the freehold (the other half owned by the second flat). My flat is the ground floor flat. The owner of the first floor flat already had planning permission (pre-dating my purchase) for an extensive loft conversion and last year decided to do a complete refurb of his property (it was in a really poor state of repair and needed a lot of work).

    I signed the party wall agreement for the loft conversion but we did not discuss anything further than that (I figured that was necessary before we'd start discussing the finer details). In the end several neighbours refused to sign it and the party wall was not awarded because of concerns about the size of the conversion.

    After that he told me that he was then going to just do a refurb of his flat consisting of new kitchen, bathroom, rewire, reconfigure the layout to match mine etc and that was the last I heard. What he then went ahead and did was do a loft conversion anyway (1 en suite bedroom - much smaller in size than the one he originally planned to do) and without even informing anyone!! The builder gave me a tour a couple of weeks ago and I was gobsmacked.

    After making some phone calls I also discovered there haven't been any building control inspections and the Council were completely unaware he had begun renovating his flat.

    I've studied the leases and the attic space is definitely not exclusively granted to the first floor flat. Furthermore, the restrictions on the lease state that he is not allowed to make any changes to the roof structure whatsoever without permission. I haven't signed or otherwise agreed to anything other than the original Party Wall Agreement.

    I approached him about it and he claimed he thought that because he owned a share of freehold he didn't need my permission and also assumed he owned the loft space. This is complete bull - he's actually an architect and owns several BTL properties. He obviously knows the difference between leasehold and freehold and decided that playing dumb was his best course of action.

    Other things he's done is remove all the carpets (the lease states it must be carpeted) and replaced them with laminate flooring throughout, removed a small window & enlarged the opening to fit double french doors (to lead out onto an external staircase that he doesn't have planning permission for), blocked up a chimney and also messed around with the plumbing (his flat now has the ability to cut my water off).

    His arrogance is astounding. Can I force him to reinstall the carpets and make him compensate me for effectively stealing my share of the attic??
    Last edited by mav; 26-06-2014, 12:00 AM.