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Can you have a fireplace in a leasehold flat?

August 2021
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A fireplace in your home is more than just a heating appliance; it’s a wonderful focal point for any room. However, if your home is a flat, fireplaces can be tricky. Here at Sussex Fireplace Gallery, we’ve been supplying and installing all types of fireplaces for many years, and we are often asked about the best options for apartment living.

Exisiting Fireplaces

If you live in an older property that’s been converted or a purpose-built block of flats with original fireplaces that are intact, you maybe able to use them. But if a fireplace needs to be repaired and restored to full functionality, you are likely to need permission from the landlord or freeholder to carry out the work.

The trouble with a leasehold flat is that its ownership is governed by the Lease. While the freeholder owns the building, the lease holder owns the right to occupy the building for the number of years remaining on the Lease. Check the document carefully to see what, if any, building works you are allowed to carry out and whether you require a Licence to Alter from the free holder. What’s more, if you rent the flat, you need to ask your landlord(who may well be the leaseholder) to carry out the necessary checks and obtain any relevant permissions.

Installing new fireplaces

Given the above, can you add a fireplace to your flat? The good news is that there are some fantastic alternatives to traditional open fires that can be installed in flats and apartments without much bother.

  • Electric fireplaces are the easiest solution to give your home that cosy fireplace feel while adding an eye-catching centrepiece to your room. They require no chimney or a lot of building work – just a plug and some minor drilling work. As there’s no combustion and no real flame, electric fires are totally safe for flats, carrying no carbon monoxide risk whatsoever.

    What’s more, an electric fireplace takes up very little space, which can be a key concern for apartment living where space is always at a premium. Free-standing models can sit flat against the wall, while wall-mounted models save on floor space. If you are prepared to carry out a little more work, there’s the option of inset electric fires too.

    Electric fires are also a great option for renters. Many freestanding models can simply be plugged into a regular socket (and taken with you when you move). For wall-mounted electric fires, you will need your landlord’s approval to drill into the wall and you will need to make good any damage at the end of your tenancy.
  • Gas fires are another good option for apartment owners, as long as you choose a flueless fire that doesn’t require a chimney. Unlike an electric fire, a gas fire will give you a real flame for that authentic fireplace feel, but without the need to have an open chimney.

    Flueless gas fires use a catalytic converter to turn fumes into safe gases that are then released back into the room – no need for a chimney or flue at all. They come in an array of styles and models including wall-mounted flueless gas fires and flueless inset gas fires.

    Some minor building work is needed to install a flueless gas fireplace, and there are some restrictions you need to bear in mind. Your room must be bigger than 30m2 and have a permanent openable window. The gas fire must be connected to a main gas supply and fixed safely to the wall and you need to have an air vent at least 100m2 fitted directly to a fresh air supply. Flueless gas fires should only be used as a secondary heat source, so your flat must be centrally heated as well.

Choosing the right fireplace for your home is an important decision, particularly if you live in a flat. Why not visit one of our Sussex showrooms near Brighton and Eastbourne to see our large display of traditional and contemporary fires? You can make an appointment here.

Our experienced team is on hand to guide you through the entire process. We can arrange for a home survey to ensure that your chosen fireplace is the right style and size for your needs, while our installation team delivers a clean, polite and efficient service to fit your new appliance.

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