Freeholder's consent and fee to sublet leasehold flat

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  • Freeholder's consent and fee to sublet leasehold flat

    Hello

    I own a flat and want to let it out. It is share of freehold but with a lease attached. The lease states that I must request permission from the freehold company to sublet, although permission should not be unreasonably withheld. I own one share, and have two neighbours with one share each (for a total of three shares). One of the neighbours is the secretary of the freehold.

    My two neighbours have said in writing (following my written request) that they deny permission based on the fact that potential tenants could be a nightmare. I bought the flat two years ago and have lived in it since- they claim the previous owners let it out to tenants who were bad. They say they will never let me sublet based on this.

    Is this an 'unreasonable' basis for denying me permission to sublet?

    Any advice would be great.

  • #2
    I think their reason that the tenant "could be nightmare" is wholly unreasonable.

    You need to demonstrate that you will properly reference all incoming tenants and that the assured shorthold tenancy agreement will comply with the lease. You could go as far as saying that you will issue the tenancy for a maximum of six months, to give you a relatively early option of eviction if the tenant turns out to be a nightmare, not just for them but you too.

    Ask them to properly object to that. Keep it friendly.

    Be prepared to get legal on their asssss!

    Comment


    • #3
      I vote for reasonable. OK - we are at 1-1. Next voter please.
      ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

      Comment


      • #4
        Read LTA 1988. Onus of proof re what is 'reasonable' rests on L, under s.1(6).
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


        • #5
          Consent & fee for subletting leasehold flat

          I own a flat that I let out . Today I received a demand for 193.87 for retrospective consent to sublet. It seems an extortionate amount. I have looked at my lease, There is nothing to say I can’t sublet, the only thing I can find is under a heading called Assignments where it states.

          "Within one month after every assignment assent transfer of underlease for a term exceeding twenty one years or assignment of such underlease or any devolution of title (including a mortgage or legal charge) of the property or any part thereof or any share therein to give notice in writing to the lessor or its agent and to pat to the lessor or its agent a fee of not less that twenty five pound s for registration of such notice"

          Is this the legal para that covers this? Can they put in a retrospective charge? Can they charge a different amount for a retrospective charge? Its 129 if its not retrospective. Can I ask them to break down the costs? Don’t want to get in to hassle over the lease ... but I know that freehold managers are real sharks so I would like some advice as I begrudge paying them anything that I don’t have to.

          Comment


          • #6
            consent to sublet

            Is there any obligation in the lease for a direct covenant from the prospective subtenant?If so it may be reasonable to with-hold consent unless the covenant is forthcoming.

            The courts have ruled that a licence for consent to sublet shouldnt cost as much as you have been quoted. You could take a chance and tell them that they are not entitled to the fee. I probably would.

            Freehold managers look after ground rent investments for a variety of people; including some highly respectable institutional landlords eg Pooled Investment Funds with long standing investments in ground rents who might be very interested to know that they are ripping off their lessees. I suggest you put it to freehold managers that if they persist in asking for an excessive fee you will stitch them up to their clients whose good name is being compromised by the request for an excessive consent fee as the fee is nominally being paid as the freeholders - inflated- costs.

            Let me know how you get on. You will find a reference on here to the case heard at LVT where the bench decided that in any event a fee of less than a hundred pounds would be sufficient for a licence to sublet

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by anniebea View Post
              "Within one month after every assignment assent transfer of underlease for a term exceeding twenty one years or assignment of such underlease or any devolution of title (including a mortgage or legal charge) of the property or any part thereof or any share therein to give notice in writing to the lessor or its agent and to pat to the lessor or its agent a fee of not less that twenty five pound s for registration of such notice"
              Assuming the "of" should be an "or" and your subletting was for 21 years or less then there is no requirement to register the subletting and consequently no fee to pay.

              Further, if subletting is not prohibited or permitted with consent, no consent is needed and accordingly no fee payable for any consent.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                Assuming the "of" should be an "or" and your subletting was for 21 years or less then there is no requirement to register the subletting and consequently no fee to pay.

                Further, if subletting is not prohibited or permitted with consent, no consent is needed and accordingly no fee payable for any consent.
                The OF is and OR.

                Should I just write to them and quote this paragraph saying that that subletting is not prohibted and that I do not thinkk I am liable.

                I cannot find anything else in the lease that says subletting is prohibted.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Write and say: On what grounds do you consider I am liable to pay the fee requested?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have read the information they sent requesting the payment and it says in the form where I am meant to provide the details of the tenancy that it is to comply with the restrictions set out by the landlords insurers.

                    I think again its something to fob me off again.

                    They also warn that they will inform the mortgage lender (no mortgae so that threat wont wash) and the inurance on the property may be affected.

                    Its one of those letter that they hope will scare you in to just paying up.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thier request is for consent of the freeholder to a sublet - there is nothing in the lease to say anything about subletting.

                      I will write to them as above and post back what happens.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Same freeholder?

                        Read your message with interest as I have just received an identical letter (same amounts) so I'm guessing we have the same freeholder, although I can't seem to find any reference to subletting in my lease. I'm contacting other owners in the building to see how they are responding - would be interested how you get on.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Permission to Sublet

                          I had this a while ago and had paid Freehold Managers every time they requested. However, last time the fee was ridiculous (about £200), so I wrote back to them and asked them to provide a breakdown of their costs, and if it wasn't reasonable I would take them to the tribunal - including retrospectoively for all previous payments.
                          I got an apology, wothdrawal fo the request and have had no further requests from them since.
                          The back of the letter from them by law must tell you how you can appeal to the land tribunal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is nothing in my lease that says I have to get thier consent to sublet. I have written to them asking them where in the lease it says I have to have thier consent.

                            I am awaiting thier reply. I suspect they haven't even looked at my lease and have just targeted those leasholders whose postal address for communications doesnt match the address of the property and sent them a standard letter. The letter asked me to provide details of insurance so they can make sure it is OK!!. They insure the property...... so it looks as if they havent checked that either before sending out the letter.

                            They will get some people who will just pay up without checking and they will get money that they are not entitled to.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by anniebea View Post
                              There is nothing in my lease that says I have to get thier consent to sublet. I have written to them asking them where in the lease it says I have to have thier consent.

                              I am awaiting thier reply. I suspect they haven't even looked at my lease and have just targeted those leasholders whose postal address for communications doesnt match the address of the property and sent them a standard letter. The letter asked me to provide details of insurance so they can make sure it is OK!!. They insure the property...... so it looks as if they havent checked that either before sending out the letter.

                              They will get some people who will just pay up without checking and they will get money that they are not entitled to.
                              The old 'standard letter' approach.

                              It is silly because many landlords who bought on btl will have put tenants into flats. I don't know how they can enforce this in court. If they don't put people in, they will struggle financially if not living in the property themselves.

                              Comment

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