Subletting Flat

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    Subletting Flat

    I own a flat and am allowed to sublet it. Communal heating is provided to the flat by the freeholder of the building and each flat pays a proportion of those costs.

    There is a dispute between flat owners (the freeholder is a connected party of some of the freeholders) over the number of hours that is to be provided and I worry that these may be reduced at any time.

    My new (likely) tenant is a 70 year old and has breathing problems so I am in a bit of a dilemma over what to put in the tenancy agreement.

    Can I reproduce in the tenancy agreement the same covenant that I have in my lease and pass on any legal claims against me to the freeholder of the building? The freeholder's obligation states "to keep and maintain the central heating system to the building in good working order and condition and to ensure that it is kept in operation between the first day of October and the thirtieth day of April in each year"

    The only form of heating in the flats bathroom is the communal heating. Do I need to provide an alternative?

    #2
    Originally posted by auntnancy View Post
    in operation between the first day of October and the
    thirtieth day of April in each year"

    Do I need to provide an alternative?
    You certainly do, in my opinion. ( assuming no fires in other rooms )

    This is England ! it can snow in June ! ! !

    so you have no heating at all between 14th April to 30th September ?

    If I were you, I would advise your prospective tenant that your
    flat is not suitable, and to find somewhere else.
    That is your duty for the well being of your tenants.

    You don't mention if you have coal fires / electric fires fitted in
    the other rooms.
    You mention the bathroom, so are you only concerned about the
    bathroom, or are you concerned about the other rooms as well ?

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your reply.

      Originally posted by ram View Post
      You certainly do, in my opinion. ( assuming no fires in other rooms )

      This is England ! it can snow in June ! ! !
      I have heard that it is enough that the tenant is able to provide their own heating. Is that not right? If it is right then what is the usual approach in a bathroom?

      If I were you, I would advise your prospective tenant that your
      flat is not suitable, and to find somewhere else.
      That is your duty for the well being of your tenants.
      I would prefer to bring the flat up to standard before he moves in. Can you advise me on what I need to do?

      Also, with regard to my original question, am I at risk of being sued if the tenant complains about the hours of communal heating?

      Comment


        #4
        Any help, from anybody, appreciated.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by auntnancy View Post
          Any help, from anybody, appreciated.
          Be calm, people are out at work, / have to attend to evening meals /
          children after work, etc. so the "Experts" may not reply instantly,
          the same day.

          I only said dont give the prospective tenant you flat due to his
          age, and breathing problems.
          If there is additional heating in the other rooms, then that should
          be fine.

          You must make great pains ( in this instant, with this tenant ) to
          advise of the heating times per day, and it is off in the summer
          between dates 14th April to 30th September.

          Worried about what you wrote :-
          "Can I reproduce in the tenancy agreement the same covenant that
          I have in my lease and pass on any legal claims against me to the
          freeholder of the building? The freeholder's obligation states "to
          keep and maintain the central heating system to the building in
          good working order"

          No, you cannot ask your tenant to
          "keep and maintain the central heating system to the building in
          good working order
          " as it is not his to maintain.

          If the common CH stops, then it is the freeholder's remit to fix ,
          ( you all pay through the service charges, to fix ) and tenants
          have to be inconvenienced slightly till it's fixed.

          Suggest you have anyway, 2 fan heaters.
          The prospective tenant can choose to sign, or not sign, once he
          has ALL the facts about the heating.
          They can't sue you, but they can complain and seek compensation,
          but if fires and fan heaters are available, then compensation would
          not be appropriate.

          R.a.M.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ram View Post

            [/I]No, you cannot ask your tenant to
            "keep and maintain the central heating system to the building in
            good working order
            " as it is not his to maintain.

            If the common CH stops, then it is the freeholder's remit to fix ,
            ( you all pay through the service charges, to fix ) and tenants
            have to be [SIZE=2]inconvenienced slightly till it's fixed.
            Thanks.

            No the point I was making is whether I offer the same service, that I have in the lease to my tenant, as a landlord obligation under the tenancy agreement?

            The issue I have is that the freeholder and their agent are telling me that the hours of operation of the communal heating are to be determined by the leaseholders. If I promise my tenant central heating between October & April, how can I fulfill that obligation without being in control of the heating? If he sue's me for damages and asks the court to order me to provide gas central heating, what can I do about it?

            Comment


              #7
              You state :

              There is Limited central heating included in the rent.

              The aproximate dates it is operable is between
              first day of October and the thirtieth day of April.

              The aproximate times it is available during those dates are ;
              x am to x pm.

              These dates and times are subject to future variation, and are
              totaly out of the Landlords control, as the managing company /
              agent decide, from feed back from the other leaseholders
              ( owners of the flats ) the times and dates the heating will be
              operable, but not too much variation on the current conditions.

              There are fires in rooms x,y & z. for top up of heat if required.
              There are two fan heaters also for top up if required.

              Someone may be able to phrase above better, but at least you
              have given the truth, and prospective tenants can"sign or not sign"

              You cannot sue the freeholder / company / agent if the times of
              the heating changes, but you can complain.

              I would include an extension lead, just long enough to get a fan
              heater to blow warm air into the bathroom, from the door.

              That's all you can do. On the last page of the tenancy.
              You stipulated the conditions, which, when the tenant signs, signs his acceptance of the conditions

              R.a.M.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by ram View Post
                There is Limited central heating included in the rent.
                I think he would walk away if I offered him such an uncertain service.

                I want to be able to offer him central heating between October and April. That is what I am promised in my lease so why can't I pass on the obligation?

                Surely if I am in breach as a Landlord then the freeholder is too. I can then pass on any damages that are awarded against me.

                If it's a criminal matter then surely it's between my tenant and the freeholder.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by auntnancy View Post
                  I want to be able to offer him central heating between
                  October and April. That is what I am promised in my lease so why
                  can't I pass on the obligation?
                  Yes, you can pass on that obligation, as stated in post 7.
                  but you say the hours and or the dates the heating comes on may
                  change.
                  You HAVE to inform tenants of that fact, if that fact is known to you.

                  Originally posted by auntnancy View Post
                  Surely if I am in breach as a Landlord then the freeholder is too.
                  I can then pass on any damages that are awarded against me.
                  Yes, but the freeholder, at the request of the leaseholders, may
                  alter the heating times to suit the leaseholders "reasonable" requests.

                  Originally posted by auntnancy View Post
                  If it's a criminal matter then surely it's between my tenant and the freeholder.
                  NO. The freeholder is not letting the flat out, you are.
                  There is no contract whatsoever between your sub-tenant and
                  the freeholder.
                  You are responsible for what is supplied in your flat, even if supplied
                  by the freeholder.

                  I have given you information as to how I would, if I was in your
                  situation, advise a prospective tenant.

                  I don't think the dates will change, only the times during the day
                  the heat is available, so you should be o.k. on the dates.

                  R.a.M.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ram View Post
                    You HAVE to inform tenants of that fact, if that fact is known to you.
                    That's the crucial point. Surely if there is any uncertainty, it has to be mentioned in my lease. Why should other leaseholders have a say in the matter? If the freeholder is going to listen to the views of leaseholders then surely it has to be in the lease. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Why should the same covenant mean something different in the lease than if it was in an AST? It's a contract between myself and the freeholder, not the other leaseholders. Why should I put up with an unpredictable service that can change at the whim of other leaseholders? Basically I am being prevented from passing on the benefit of my lease.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by auntnancy View Post

                      No the point I was making is whether I offer the same service, that I have in the lease to my tenant, as a landlord obligation under the tenancy agreement?
                      Firsrtly no you cannot pass on your obligations to the freeholder, your responsiblity to the tenant are yours.

                      Secondly your oblgations to your tenant operate in a different legal context to that between the FH and you as a tenant(with a long lease)
                      because you have a long lease.

                      Your overiding repsonsbility is to ensure that the flat is habitable and therefore one of the requirements that you must ensure that there is adequate space heating to a tenant where their tenancy is for less that 7 years.


                      While the FH must provide heating as the lease determines ( not simply when the lessess determine) then you must consider that you either
                      a let on the basis that heating is only provided between Oct to Apr and they must provide their own supplemental heating
                      b provide supplemental heating yourself.

                      Given that the tenant is elderly and has health concerns it is likely that while you can defend a,at legal costs, any incident will involve social services and you risk investigation by the LA.

                      In turn any failure to provide heating outside the contractual obligations of the freeholder does, yes ,allow you to sue them.


                      As the tenancy gas statreted I would look closely at installing some additonal heating eg storage heaters its a lot cheaper than fighting or a tenant who becomes most unwell.
                      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                      Comment

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