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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3517
Experience:  Two years conveyancing experience.
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I have a leasehold (999 years) property in the UK with a share

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I have a leasehold (999 years) property in the UK with a share of the freehold. The lease contains some provisions regarding sub-letting but there is a conflict in these which would give the impression that the property may not be sub-let at all. It is clear however, that this is a badly drafted clause and the landlord has confirmed this. I do however want a deed of variation to amend the one clause so as to avoid any problems in the future. If the landlord refuses to grant such a deed, what are my options
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you - if you have a share of freehold are you not your own landlord? Who are the other freeholders? Is the freehold owned through a limited company?

Alex J. :

Does the clause say "no subletting without consent - consent not to be unreasonably with held or delayed"?

Alex J. :

Kind regards AJ

Customer:

I have a share in the freehold which is a limited company but there are many other owners and shareholders. To save your time, I only need to know what my options are if the freeholder refuses to grant a deed of variation (out of protocol) even though they accept that the clause is misleading. However, if you wish to see the clauses, I can send these as a one page attachment if that is possible

Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. I would need to see the wording if possible?

Customer:

How can I send the page as an attachment?

Attachment: 2015-01-21_080717_lease_clauses.docx

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Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. I have read these clauses - none of these clauses are a prohibition on sub letting per say - I presume you just want to sub let on an assured shorthold tenancy?

Alex J. :

The 7 year point is only relevant because then it becomes a registerable interest and think it is quite right that the landlord should be able to control such a long alienation of the demised premises - to ensure that the lessee complies with covenants of the lease.

Alex J. :

If you are just talking about an AST then essentially you as the sub letting party are responsible for the tenant sub let to, because it is a short term arrangement and possession can be easily regained should the tenant breach any covenants in your lease.

Customer:

Hi AJ. We are talking about the an AST but with respect, I think you are missing the point or have not read the whole page. the third clause states that the property may only be occupied as a single family dwelling by the Lessee and his family only which effectively prohibits occupation by anyone else. This is the crux of the problem.

Alex J. :

Thank you. I understand the issue what it should have said was the "lessee or his successors in title". I still do not agree that this is a prohibition on short term sub letting. I appreciate that amending the lease is too onerous - but a simple letter from the landlord company saying they consent to you granting an AST to a third party will suffice. Alternatively this is a covenant in a lease - and you could just obtain indemnity insurance against a potential breahc but that seems wholly unnecessary.

Customer:

Hi AJ. Perhaps you could answer my original question. I do want a deed of variation. If the landlord refuses to grant this, what are my options (can I got to Court to enforce this?)

Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. No you wont be able to go to court to force a variation - when the lease was signed or assigned to you, it was your responsibility to ensure these issues were checked - if anything the solicitor who advised you when you purchased the flat should have highlighted this as an issue. If the landlord refuses a deed of variation there is nothing you can do about it. They will only amend this if they then amend every lease in the block because presumably all the leases are the same - this would be wholly impractical (and expensive) if there are lots of you. I would recommend you call a General Meeting of the company (or ask the board to do it) and pass a resolution saying that tenants can let their flats on short term lets of less than 7 years.

Customer:

Thank you

Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3517
Experience: Two years conveyancing experience.
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