I am currently waiting for approval on a loft conversion from my landlord and would like to understand my rights and what is considered a 'reasonable' amount of time to wait for a response.
I have 130+ year lease on my flat in a converted school house. I bought the loft area above my flat from the landlord 2 years ago and the new lease agreement stated I needed approval from the landlord before any works could be carried out in the new space (I don't have exact wording but it was something like they cannot be 'unreasonably withheld').
I have been meticulous about preparing for the proposed works and have used a reputable architect, structural engineering firm, building control, etc. I also have received planning permission from the city council.
This entire part of the process took almost 8 months but as the landlord had a formal procedure for asking for approval I wanted to ensure I had everything arranged in a very detailed application package with as much pre-planned information as possible. I had also met with the building management company and had them onboard for how the works would be carried out to cause minimal disruption to the other tenants.
They landlord will not speak directly to me and only communicates through a rather cantankerous solicitor. The solicitor told me they would only consider my application if I pay all of their fees. They would start the work when I deposited a rather large sum of money into their account which would act as a deposit on the process (they would not tell me how much it would be in total).
I paid this amount in mid January. After 8 weeks I sent a friendly note to ask about progress.on the application. After another week I received a note back scolding me and that I should not ask on progress and they will let me know when they have anything to update me on (they also made a point to tell me that I will be paying 'extra' fees for them to have replied to my note and not to ask them about status again or they will charge me more fees (!)
It is now 13 weeks and I have still heard nothing. I am not sure what to do. Do I have any rights or do I have to rely completely on them and whatever timing they see fit? And who is the client here? It seems that the landlord is the client yet I am having to pay all of their fees however have no rights and can't even ask on progress?
Given I am coming up on a year of planning this project I am anxious to get movement. Any help is greatly appreciated!