Home » Tenant Alterations

Tenant Alteration Advice

Whether and the extent which a tenant is able to make alterations to a property will often be covered in the heads of terms.

What are tenant alterations?

Tenant alterations are any changes the tenant wishes to make to a property, whether they be internal or external. Examples include installing new countertops and decorating in the tenant’s brand style.

Tenant alterations can only be made to the property as defined in the lease. If the property does not contain the outside structure then alterations cannot be made without some other form of agreement being entered into.

When does a tenant usually carry out alterations?

When a tenant moves into a property they will usually want to carry out some form of alterations, often referred to as a fit-out.

Other alterations may be required periodically or where the tenant has a particular requirement, for example they have rebranded and need to change the décor.

Can a tenant carry out alterations?

If a lease does not mention alterations then the tenant will be able to carry out any it chooses. This is a relatively rare occurrence except for very long leases and a lease of commercial property will usually restrict the alterations that a tenant can make to a property.

The usual scenario is that the tenant can make internal non-structural alterations with the consent of the landlord, but will be unable to make external or structural alterations.

If the lease does state that alterations can only be carried out with the consent of the landlord, legislation adds a proviso that such consent cannot be unreasonably withheld in the case of improvements. This legislative proviso cannot be excluded.

If the lease covenant is absolute in that the tenant cannot carry out any alterations then the legislation does not imply the landlord has to act reasonably.

Can a landlord impose conditions when granting consent?

As a condition of giving consent, a landlord may require:

  • Payment of a reasonable sum for any damage to or diminution in the value of the property, or the value of any neighbouring property of the landlord.
  • Payment of legal or other expenses properly incurred in connection with the consent.
  • A requirement that the tenant undertakes to reinstate the property at the end of the term.

These are all relatively common conditions and most leases will contain these.

It is also becoming increasingly common to find clauses in leases stating that no alterations should have an adverse effect on rating of the energy performance certificate of the property; or that the tenant should consider the environmental impact of the proposed alterations and strive to use sustainable materials or methods.

How are alterations documented?

If consent of the landlord is required, then these are usually documented in a licence for alterations. This provides the consent that the tenant requires to carry out the alterations. It also will set out any conditions on the consent and crucially will attach a detailed specification of the alterations.

If no consent is required for alterations, it is still common to see a clause in a lease that will require the tenant to provide as built plans to the landlord after completion of any alterations.

What happens at the end of the lease?

When the lease ends, howsoever that may be, the lease will usually state the tenant must remove any alterations. This may be subject to a proviso that if the landlord informs them not to remove specified alterations they will not do so.

If you need any advice on tenant alterations, please contact a member of our commercial property law team in confidence here or on 02920 829 100 for a free initial call to see how they can help.


To speak to one of our experts today, please contact us on 02920 829 100 or by using our Contact Us form for a free initial chat to see how we can help.

Contact Our Team
Catherine Burke
Partner
View Profile
Donald Gray
Consultant
View Profile
Elin Davies
Associate
View Profile
Gareth Wedge
Partner
View Profile
Heledd Evans
Trainee Solicitor
View Profile
Lisa Evans
Paralegal
View Profile
Lorna Fraser
Associate
View Profile
Oliver Morris
Senior Associate
View Profile
Sarah Price
Senior Associate
View Profile
Stephanie Lewis
Trainee Solicitor
View Profile

I have worked with Darwin Gray for a number of years and the level of service, professionalism and timely response is second to none. I would highly recommend Darwin Gray to any business.”

Becs Beslee, Dice FM Ltd

Darwin Gray have provided us with a first-class service for many years now. They really take the time to understand our business and develop relationships which results in advice and support that is contextualised and effective.”

Rebecca Cooper, ACT Training

We have worked with Darwin Gray for several years and have always found their services and advice to be first class.”

Karen Gale, Stepping Stones Group

An extremely professional and sincere company who make time for your queries and understand the need to break down certain facts and information to ensure everything is understood perfectly. I would highly recommend the company to anyone looking for any type of legal advice”

Gwawr Booth, Portal Training Ltd

PSS has worked with Darwin Gray for many years. We have always received an excellent service. Prompt and professional advice and support.”

Ledia Shabani, Property Support Services UK Ltd

We have used several departments within DG recently and we have been very pleased with an effective, efficient and down to earth service. Very happy thus far and I expect that we will continue to use DG.”

Guto Bebb, Farmers’ Union of Wales

Darwin Gray offer us truly superb services. Very professional, quick and services available bilingually which is very important to us, highly recommend.”

Iwan Hywel, Mentrau Iaith Cymru

My “go to” in urgent and time sensitive cases for direction, support and advice. The team are quick to respond to calls or emails for advice and support on all matters. Always explain complex matters in a way a lay person can easily understand.”

Margot Adams, Guarding UK Ltd

Darwin Gray have acted for myself and my company over a number of years and at all times we have been treated with a professional manner yet maintain a common-sense approach at all levels. We couldn’t recommend them more highly.”

Simon Baston, Loft Co

We have been clients of Darwin Gray for many years; they’ve always dealt with all of our legal matters with such professionalism. They work around us, even during awkward hours, and we feel confident we can always rely on them.”

Louise Williams, ACT Training

Darwin Gray has been acting for Siltbuster for more than ten years. We would have no hesitation in recommending Darwin Gray to other organisations small or large.”

Richard D Coulton, Siltbuster Ltd

From the very first conversation, I had no doubt that Darwin Gray should be the firm to receive our instructions on this matter. I would have no hesitation in recommending Darwin Gray.”

Sandra Warr, Tomos TV

We regularly instruct Darwin Gray. Their service in dealing with our transactional matters and disputes is always professional, prompt and efficient.”

John Poppleton, Absolute Property Management Solutions Ltd

Darwin Gray guided me through a long and extended process that would have been much more difficult had it not been for their patience and constant support.”

Ifan Lewis

Excellent and efficient service. Great result achieved, highly professional and transparent on pricing. Would recommend.”

David Stevens

Superb legal service provided. Exceeded expectations. They went above and beyond in order to provide the best service possible.”

Huw Pickrell

Very professional and understanding. They were a calming influence in a very troubling situation and they brought it to a very successful conclusion”

Rachel Jones

We have used Darwin Gray and have been seriously impressed. The personal approach is what Darwin Gray are excelling on and is the reason why we will continue to work with them in the future.”

Cadwyn Housing Association