Unless there is an apparent limitation in the Lease Agreement, a tenant is entitled to make the desired changes without first seeking the landlord's permission. Hopefully, the renter has previously analysed the lease conditions to determine whether they require the consent.
The Clause in the Lease dealing with the alterations is likely to be either:
Where the Clause has been qualified, the Lease may state that agreement to a change cannot be 'withheld or delayed in an unreasonable manner'. If the change is also an improvement, these terms may be assumed by statute (section 19(2) Landlord and Tenant Act 1927), even if not mentioned explicitly.
When deciding whether to agree to a qualified clause, the landlord must be guided by an objective "reasonable person" criteria. If consent is denied, it must be demonstrated that a reasonably prudent Landlord would have declined for the same reason.
Some examples of refusal to consent include:
When the clause demands that consent not be unreasonably delayed, the landlord must respond within a reasonable time frame. While there is no statutory definition of a "reasonable period," it will be in the form of days or weeks rather than months. Landlords should therefore act quickly when assessing applications to avoid appearing to be unreasonable.
If consent is refused and the tenant proceeds with the work, their conduct may constitute a breach of the lease. The landlord may attempt to terminate the lease via forfeiture, an injunction to prevent further work and remove any unlawful alterations, and/or a claim for damages against the tenant.
If a tenant believes the landlord's refusal was unreasonable, or the landlord failed to offer consent within a reasonable period (as required under the lease), the tenant may: