In order to preserve and hopefully improve the values of their investments most landlords are interested in maintaining the integrity and condition of their buildings and in ensuring that they are well managed. Therefore retaining some control over alterations and development is important. To achieve this most leases contain restrictions on alterations. There may be an absolute prohibition in relation to some alterations (eg structural) and others may be allowed with the landlord’s consent which cannot be unreasonably withheld. Carrying out building alterations unlawfully can lead to landlords taking proceedings for an injunction (to remove the alterations), forfeiture, and/or damages. It should be noted that if a landlord unreasonably refuses consent a tenant does not have a claim in damages, although he has other remedies including applying to the court for a declaration that the landlord has unreasonably withheld consent.
Disputes over building alterations are common and in many cases they can be avoided by taking advice on the effect of an alterations covenant before (in the case of a tenant) carrying out alterations or applying for consent, or (in the case of a landlord) consenting to or refusing an application .