November 5 2014

Making alterations to your dwelling on a cross lease title

If your alteration is structural but non-load bearing, you’ll need consent from the other flat owners. This could include moving internal doors or partitions. Consent can’t be unreasonably withheld and, generally, this type of alteration will have little impact on neighbouring owners.

Alterations which involve any movement or replacement of load-bearing beams or that change the exterior shape of the building (including the addition of an extra storey) are structural and must have the consent of other owners. A cross lease plan shows the flat footprint and where this is changed by alterations, a surveyor will need to complete a new flats plan to show the new dimensions and a new cross lease will need to be completed. If you plan to build any enclosed structure attached to the original flat such as a conservatory or extension you must also follow this procedure.

Often owners who have completed work will have obtained any required building consents and aren’t aware that a new flats plan is required. Consents granted by the council for any work done will not mention the requirement to update the flats plan and therefore it’s not picked up until you come to sell your property. If you’ve completed your structural alteration but haven’t completed a new flats plan (where required) you can insert a clause in the Agreement saying that the purchaser accepts the defective flats plan and will waive any right to raise any issues arising from the Certificate of Title.

Cross leases are often not fully understood by real estate agents or purchasers. If you’re buying a flat on a cross lease title or making alterations, make sure you talk with us early on so we can explain how it will work best for you.