T won't pay service charge; can L block underlettings?

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    T won't pay service charge; can L block underlettings?

    I live in a victorian conversion consisting of 3 flats. Myself ond the owner of the ground floor flat share the freehold company which we acquired about 5 years ago.

    The basement flat has always been a problem, the leaseholder never pays the maintenance charges and has had a string of tenants who neglect the garden and cause a variety of problems, most recently culminating in a police drugs raid in May due to a full blown marijuana farm being discovered within. The flat has lain empty since.

    Given the continuous breaches of the leasehold agreement, as freeholder I would like to block any further subletting of this flat, in the hope that the leaseholder will sell the property. But I'm not sure the agreement empowers me to do this.

    There is a clause in the agreement about under-lessee's being obliged to form a covenant with the freeholder, would I be in a position to simply not agree to any covenant, thereby stopping him from subletting?

    I would appreciate your advice.

    #2
    I would suggest that a detailed diary is kept of the breaches and then consider making an application to the LVT for a determination of a breach. Section 168(4) Of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act

    This is actually fairly straightforward. The application costs nothing to make and is by way of a structured letter, ie no specific form. The LVT will then issue directions. This will get the lessee responsible to take the matter seriously because the LVT will also write to the mortgagee advising them of that proceedings are being taken which could affect their security.

    Therefore the lessee will be under pressure to regularise the tenancy

    The detailed diary will form the backbone of your defence. Therefore plenty of fact and wherever possible supported by third party evidence i.e. letters from the police/local authority.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for this.

      What I'd like to acheive is to stop him from sub-letting, I'm just unsure about the semantics of the leasehold agreement.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by nealsmear View Post
        What I'd like to acheive is to stop him from sub-letting, I'm just unsure about the semantics of the leasehold agreement.
        What is the covenant's precise wording?
        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
          The Leasehold agreement reads:-

          The Lessee hereby covenants with the lessor as follows:-

          a) Not at any time to assign sublet charge or part with possession of part only of the Demised Premises or to suffer the same to be done;

          b) Not to assign underlet or part with possession of the flat without first obtaining from the assignee transferee underlessee or undertenant a covenant directly with the lessor to pay the contribution covenanted to be made herein and in the case of an assignment or transfer a further covenant by the assignee or transferee with the lessor to pay the rent hereinbefore reserved and to observe and perform all the covenants on the part of the lessee and the conditions herein contained;

          Comment


            #6
            (a) is inapplicable to dealings with whole.
            (b) merely requires the incomer to covenant with L but does not entitle L [ = you] to withhold consent as long as there is compliance.
            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

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