Definition of 'family' and 'occupation of'

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    Definition of 'family' and 'occupation of'

    Hello lease experts.

    I have the following clause in my lease and I believe no others of relevance to sub letting:

    Not to use the premises hereby demised or the permit the same to be used for any purpose whatsoever other than as a single private dwelling house in the occupation of the lessee and his family

    So having lived in the flat for 2 years I now need to work overseas for a couple of years and need to approach the subletting problem. The free holder has made it very clear that they expect a significant premium to vary the lease and that subletting is not allowed. They explained quite aggressively that I could forfeit the lease if I am found in breach!

    So before I go and get specific legal advice I wonder if there are cases where the definitions of 'family' have been challenged (could it include a friend?) and what 'occupancy' actually means.

    Any other advice very much appreciated.

    I wonder if you could 'adopt' your prospective tenant, so that he is a member of your family.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


      It's a nice idea, but think UK law only allows adoption of those under the age of 18


        Further info is that the Managing Company have said verbally that consent will not be granted if asked for - only option is varying the lease. Is it better to still formally apply for consent so I have evidence of their unreasonable approach?


          If the lease expressly forbids subletting and there is no provision for the FH to grant or permission or not unreasonably withhold permission, then they can't grant permission anyway.

          As far a varying the lease, my understanding is that all the other lessees would have to agree as this would alter the terms of their leases too. I may be wrong though.

          You need to read your lease thoroughly to identify if there are any other clauses relating to subletting and permission. If they are not there then I don't think you can sublet and the FH can't authorise it either.


            They cant grant permission if the lease has no such clause but they could vary the lease via a deed of variation, but this would be a major change and could come at some cost and the FH would have to agree with the change and as there is no real benefit to him (in fact subletting generally only causes further hassle and expense) he could for example desire that the clause reads 'subletting to be allowed upon the payment of an annual sum of £20,000.

            If a LH really wanted to sublet he should of leased a property that allowed it, or like mine is silent on the issue.
            Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

            I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

            It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

            Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.


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