Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Could you kindly confirm the wording of the covenant in the lease which requires you to obtain permission if you have access to it please?
You mention that the freehold has changed hands during your ownership. Do you recall if you were as leaseholder given notice and the option to buy yourselves if you wanted to?
I'm away from home so don't have it to hand but it say i can sub-let with permission that i obtained from the previous Freeholder 14 years ago,there is no fee mentioned on the lease.
Thanks. Does it say you need to obtain permission in relation to each subletting (i.e. each new tenancy agreement you grant) or just generally that you need permission to sublet?
What fee is being requested by the landlord?
No just to sublet,they are asking for £75,plus £150 every time the teXXXXX XXXXXes which is every 6 months,plus more fees every year which they are vague about.
Thanks. If there is just a provision that requires that you seek permission to sublet then there is no implied term that you must seek permission in each instance you grant a tenancy. Some leases however do contain specific provisions that you must have each tenancy approved by the landlord and where such provisions exist they are binding.
If your lease simply contains a general provision not to sublet without permission then the landlord has no right to vet each tenancy you create.
In addition the landlord cannot profit from a provision requiring his permission under the lease. He may charge his reasonable administrative charges however these are limited to his actual costs. Many landlords attempt to get around this by artificially inflating costs and manufacturing an unnecessarily long process in order to approve something however they can be held to account in this respect if necessary using the Leasehold Tribunal.
Consider a response to them (if true) that the lease does not require a separate permission for each individual tenancy and that you already have permission to sublet as required by the lease and further that notwithstanding the above the charges proposed are not a true reflection of their costs in providing approval but include a profit element and are therefore unlawful as they can only seek costs in relation to granting consent under the lease.
Also on a different subject be aware that if the previous freeholder did not offer the opportunity to the then existing tenants before selling the freehold on to a third party as tenants you may have the right to acquire the freehold at the price the current freeholder paid for it. This could allow you all the opportunity of acquiring the freehold at potentially less than its market value. This could be worth looking at to get rid of the profiteering freeholder if notices of first refusal were not sent.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
Can i get back to you if i need any further advice on this matter.
Yes of course.
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
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