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Property Surveying Blog
Written by Berry Lodge Surveyors

This is one of the most common types of work that fall within the realm of a Licence to Alter and require the leaseholder to obtain the permission of the Freeholder.

We have a full blog post on the types of installations and modifications that should be undertaken to the floor during the course of the works, which we would suggest having a quick read of.

This blog post will look at some handy tips to help Leaseholders get the Licence to Alter as quickly as they can, while also making the changes clear and easy to follow for the Freeholder.

Lifting Floor Boards Pre Work

The first tip is for the Leaseholder to undertake investigatory works before the drawings have been prepared. By lifting the floorboards in a controlled manner and to certain areas, the Leaseholder will be able to identify the fabric of the floor, the existence of services and can then ensure these are correctly addressed through the drawings and proposed works.

The benefit of this is that it will fully inform both the Leaseholder’s Surveyor and Freeholder’s Surveyor pre works and pre-licence agreement which means that all precautions can be taken into account through the Licence’s agreement.

Confirming Underlay Early On

While this doesn’t apply to all scenarios, if the floor coverings are being changed from soft to hard (carpet to tiled, wooden, laminate flooring), it is advisable to confirm the type of underlay that is going to be installed at the earliest opportunity.

By doing this, the Leaseholder can get the sign off from the Freeholder or their Surveyor and can ensure that they are able to order the material promptly to avoid delay further down the line.

This also avoids a situation whereby the Leaseholder purchases underlay, only to find out at a later date that the Freeholder requires a different one! Surprisingly, this happens quite a bit.

Buying Good Underlay

Again, while this doesn’t apply to all scenarios, 9 times out of 10, the changing of a floor covering from soft to hard will be subject to the installation of acoustic underlay.

Most Leaseholders tend to look at the purchase and installation of the underlay as an added unnecessary cost and will usually try and buy a cheap low performing acoustic underlay to simply satisfy the Freeholder’s request.

This is the wrong way to approach the matter. If a premium or high-quality underlay is purchased, not only will this reduce the noise to the flat beneath, it will also ensure that there is almost no grounds for the Freeholder or their Surveyor to request acoustic tests are undertaken pre and post-work.

With Acoustic Sound Tests usually starting at around the £500 mark, avoiding these should be a high priority.

Do also bear in mind, that if the Leaseholder above you was planning on changing their floor coverings, you would want the sound transfer into your flat to be as low as it can be!

Listing the Changes in Floor Coverings

A simple one to do, we would recommend that all changes to floor coverings are either illustrated on the drawings or listed in the drawing notes.

This might seem like a simple thing to do, however, it can save a lot of discussions and potential dispute between the Freeholder’s Surveyor and Leaseholder’s Surveyor.

It will also save costly drawing revisions further down the line. These can also cause delay!

Dry to Wet Areas

If a dry room (bedroom, living room etc) is going to be changed to a wet room (shower, kitchen, bathroom) a sensible waterproofing solution should be designed at the earliest stage possible.

This will need to be in written format, usually from the contractor or architect and would ideally be listed on the drawings. Make sure the solution is a good one and takes account the fabric of the floor.

We would recommend a waterproof tanking solution that is not only applied onto the floor but also lapped up onto the walls as an added precaution.


Changing Floor coverings are a simple idea at conception, however, need to be well considered as they approach installation.

If you are planning on changing your floor coverings and believe you may require a licence to alter, give us a call now and one of our experienced and qualified Surveyors will be happy to assist you.