Underlet registration fee

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    Underlet registration fee

    hi,

    My freehold management company, also known as the Devil, {Mod - name removed}, are requesting an £138 underlet registration fee from me. I realise its been discussed umpteen times but thought if I post the clause (attached) they are relying upon I might find someone with a better mind than mine who can clarify if this clause permits them to do so.

    it seems to suggest that it's when the lessee is giving up an interest in the property, whereas sub letting is not giving up an interest as all obligations of the lease still fall with the lessee and not the sub tenant.

    I would also argue that the £5 in 1981 adjusted for inflation is just £18ish!

    thanks

    ​​​​​​

    #2
    Please remove the name of the company involved - the forum does not allow naming and shaming.

    Subletting is definitely giving up some interest in the property, so that's a red-herring.

    There are two possible charges, one is the fee to the Solicitors (who are presumably defined somewhere) which is £5 or a different amount that they might "reasonably require".
    As that fee is payable to the Solicitors, it is presumably wrapped into the second possible charge, which is all the Lessors costs, charges and expenses (including legal fees).

    So, on that basis, unless the management company are the "Solicitors", you have to pay the Solicitors £5 or a reasonable fee and the Lessor can recover their own costs.
    Presumably, the £5 or the reasonable fee is included in the £138.

    The management company (on behalf of the lessor) can only charge what the event costs them, so if they're being charged £138 (or they incur such costs themselves) for giving (or contemplating giving) consent, and any (specified) additional processes required (I think none in this case).

    In theory, you could ask the management company to explain what costs they incur associated with your giving notice to the Solicitors and how much the solicitors charge them for receiving such an interest (I'm not clear where they would "register" a sublet).

    In practice, you're going to be charged £138 and pay it.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Also underlease is solicitor's speak for sub-let, so the sub-let case is explicitly covered.

      Comment


        #4
        'Registering a sublet' consists of lessee emailing ***** a pdf of the tenancy agreement, and ***** sending a letter asking for £138.

        I argued this at LVT ten years ago. Back then, they were asking me to pay every year for the same tenant. *****'s defence was that the tribunal did not have jurisdiction over notice fees. I believe the law has been changed since then, so maybe worth someone's while having a go.

        Comment


          #5
          The clause is clear. The notice is to be given to the landlord's solicitors. Tell **** that if they let you know who the solicitors are you will send them notice. If you get the solicitors' name and address send them notice with a cheque for five pounds. If they say they want more say the lease requires you to pay five pounds or such other fee as they reasonably require. That gives you a choice and you choose to pay the five pounds.

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you all for your comments and input, much appreciated. I will put forward queries to the management firm and post back details.

            Comment


              #7
              Well its been two weeks and they still haven't responded to my request for the freeholders solicitors details. we shall see what happens....

              they did send previously a templated response saying that "the LVT does not have power to rule that a registration fee is unreasonable". Odd as this body doesn't exist in England any more as I understand and has been replaced with FTT? Do these have the power to determine if a registration fee is unreasonable?

              Comment


                #8
                The power seems to have existed since September 2004, which is before the FTT replaced the LVT (Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, Schedule 11).

                Comment


                  #9
                  The solicitors are correct, the LVT does not have the power because it ceased to exist in June 2013.

                  The FTT would also not have the jurisdiction to consider the charge because it is not a variable administration charge, you have the right to choose a fixed fee of £5 as stated by Lawcruncher in #5.

                  Comment

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