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Electra_debeers
09-10-2011, 13:05 PM
I do apologise if I am posting in the wrong thread and for the length of my question which is two fold.

First, I was wandering if anyone can recommend a reputable solicitor in Sheffield to assist me further with my following question and how much is it likely to cost for the advice?

Second, the question:

I bought a leasehold flat in 1997, as a buy to let property. We purchased it with a buy to let mortgage and one family has been occupying this property since.

As stated, the property is Leasehold and there is a management company who administers the property. They have recently written to me stating that they have been informed that my property is being let out to tenants and they want to start charging me £200 per year for their administration costs in reviewing this.

When I spoke to them, I stated that the property was purchased as buy to let and they have been aware of this since the property was bought.

They said that according to my lease they can do this and if I did not pay them the administration fee I would be in breach of my lease.

My question is, can they do this?

I understand that I have the option of taking them to a Tribunal for this to be assessed, how much would this cost me with the assistance of a solicitor and can anyone recommend a solicitor that can assist me with this in the Sheffield area?

I have checked my lease and the only clauses which stand out to me which suggest they can do this is a clause under a ‘covenants and obligations’ section of the lease which outline my obligations and performance under the lease which need to be performed by the lessee (I am assuming this is me) which states "to pay and discharge and keep the lessor indemnified from and against all rates taxes assessments charges impositions and outgoings which may at the time during the said term be assessed charged or imposed upon the demised premise or the owner or occupier in respect of ...[the property] etc".

Further into that clause, which states " all reasonable costs and expenses of the Lessor including all solicitors and surveyors costs in granting or refusing any consent required in connection with this lease [must be paid]”
There is another clause which is about the covenants which need to be performed by the lessor with the lessee which states "to pay and discharge any rate taxes and outgoings assessed on any flat ... during any time that such flat is retained by the lessor and remains vacant or is occupied at a rental inclusive of outgoings or in circumstances which do not involve the payment of the service charge"

Do any of these clauses suggest that the management company do have the right to charge me a further administrative charge for letting my property?

Thank you.

Lawcruncher
09-10-2011, 13:31 PM
Does the lease contains a clause which says something along the lines of:

Not to assign underlet share occupation or part with possession of the premises

Electra_debeers
09-10-2011, 13:50 PM
Does the lease contains a clause which says something along the lines of:

Not to assign underlet share occupation or part with possession of the premises


There is nothing to that effect or similar in the lease.

boletus
09-10-2011, 13:57 PM
I was wandering if anyone can recommend a reputable solicitor in Sheffield

Then wander no more:(happy):, as per your post to Jeffrey 2 years ago-

;-) you never know, I might be instructing you to put right the errors of my ways in the new year ... ...

Why not? He is in Sheffield after all.

Electra_debeers
09-10-2011, 14:03 PM
Lol - I did my own Transfer on my property successfully without the assistance of a solicitor.

Unfortunately for Jeffers, i think there will be a conflict of interests which will prevent him from acting in this matter. :-) I significant conflict of interests.

Lawcruncher
09-10-2011, 14:06 PM
There is nothing to that effect or similar in the lease.

In that case write to the agents and ask them where it says in the lease that they can make a charge.

Let us know what they say. No need to instruct a solicitor yet.

Electra_debeers
09-10-2011, 14:36 PM
Thank you Lawcruncher, it is a much appreciated response.

What do you think will happen in the meantime if I do not pay the charges? Is there anything that the agents can do to recover those charges from me whilst I make those enquiries? Or can they disturb my tenants?

I understand the reasons for you stating that there is no need for me to instrcut a solicitor yet, but would it be worth me attendng on a solicitor to check out my lease and other correspondance that I have received to be on the safe side?

Sorry for all the questions.

leaseholdanswers
09-10-2011, 15:40 PM
You have started reading the lease but need to read further to find the answer. Look for the words under let assign sublet or part with possession. The clauses you have found so far don't actually address the issues.

The landlord or their agent, the ManCo, can only "administer" as they say if the lease requires you to get consent on each letting and the clause would run along the lines not to assign underlet sublet the whole or part of the demised premises without the consent of x X". Similarly the lease may require that when you do these things you simply give notice, and in both cases they have to say that a fee is due.

It may however say nought!

So
a; read the lease back to front and once again, the answer may be in more than one place.
b; you could write and say that you have looked at your lease and that as you cannot find any clause, could they please identify in the lease where consent to let or a require to administer the letting is stated, or that any fees for that and/or notification are due.

In the meantime they cannot disturb your tenants nor take action to recover the fees, however you must respond in the next day or so and not leave the matter.

Gordon999
10-10-2011, 03:11 AM
Its strange that you have received this demand after 14 years renting to same tenants . Are you dealing with same freeholder and Man Co since 1997 ?

As LHA says - check the wording of your lease for a clause which (1) requires the lessee to obtain the lessor's consent to sublet and (2) to pay a fee for subletting consent or for registration of subletting to the Lessor.

Any other BTL flat owners in your block receiving the same demands ?

I suggest you check if there has been a recent change of freeholder for your block of flats.