What does 'Deed of Variation' mean when buying a property?

Find out what Deed of Variation means when you are buying a property. 'What does Deed of Variation mean?' plus over 150 other property related terms and jargon in plain English

Deed of Variation

A lease is usually a large document and lays out what the leaseholder of any particular property is, and is not, allowed to do and the responsibilities of the leaseholder and the freeholder.

So on one of my properties it says in the lease that I am not allowed to hang my laundry to dry outside the property or within view of the windows. Its a garden flat for crying out loud but OK, I'm not allowed.

If I wanted to get this changed and the freeholder agreed then we could go through the expense of drawing up a whole new lease but that would be costly. It would be better to simply add something to the lease which says "that clause which says you can't hang your laundry outside no longer applies" and that appended document is a deed of variation that would now allow all my neighbours to admire my very colorful collection of boxer shorts.

Alright not a brilliant example. Lets try something else. Say you have a garden flat and you want to add a conservatory. A lease usually specifies that at the end of the lease you will hand the property back to the freeholder in the state it was at the beginning of the lease and that any changes need to have the agreement of the Freeholder.

So as a Leaseholder I ask the Freeholder if I can add my conservatory. Let's say they say yes then we need to make that official by appending the agreement to the lease. Again that additional document is known as a deed of variation. It creates a variation to the lease which just saves the costs of creating and signing off an entirely new lease.

So when small changes need to be made to the lease it is preferable for all parties to append this to the lease rather than write the entire lease again. The document that is appended to the lease is called a deed of variation but it must be agreed and signed by both the leaseholder and the freeholder (or his agent) before it can come into effect.

To find out more about deeds of variation and how you might use them during your property purchase pick up a copy of my ebook How to Really Buy a Property.

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How to Really Buy a Property

"... Changes to the Property: You are in essence renting the property for a number of years. When, theoretically, you come to give it back the freeholder will reasonably expect it to look they way it did when he sold the lease. As such any substantial changes must be approved by the Freeholder in writing. These might be the removal of a door or the addition of a conservatory. If it makes a difference to what is on the lease, you'll need his permission. He will grant this in writing by either producing a new lease or by issuing a deed of..."
"... Changes to the Property: Many people confuse Share of Freehold with total freedom! Someone who owns a share of freehold is still a leaseholder and must get the permission of the "freeholder" before making any substantial or structural changes to their property. This means agreement from all those in the building who have a percentage stake in the freehold company. As such staying friendly with your neighbours is far more important in a share of freehold situation than if you are a leaseholder! Once again any agreed changes must be spelt out either in a new lease or in a deed of..."

"... of Variation (Leasehold Only) - when a lease needs to be changed the freeholder may decide that writing an entirely new lease is timely and costly. As such they will issue a Deed of Variation to the lease to confirm that something in the lease is not true or to make an addition to the..."
"... he will reappear and want to claim the outstanding debt from you. Leasehold only: Your solicitor does not think a Deed of Variation is adequately worded and wants a new one drawn up. The freeholder is offended and refuses to do so - Requesting Further Enquiries - With so many pitfalls in..."

"... A Deed of Variation is one of those little bits of paper that so easily goes missing or the kind of thing that a vendor thinks he did, after his purchase of the property, because he asked his solicitor to do it but in the bustle of a busy life forgot to follow up on and actually it never happened. ..."

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