Annual Notice of Subletting Fee £90+VAT without any communication?

by Readers Question

6 months ago

Annual Notice of Subletting Fee £90+VAT without any communication?

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Annual Notice of Subletting Fee £90+VAT without any communication?

I just received my service charge demand/invoice, where there is “Annual Notice of Subletting Fee” of £90+VAT, without any communication or my request. The management company does know that I’m letting out the flat, which is fair enough.
But:
1. Are they legally allowed to add such fee to service charge invoice without communicating or my request, and price so as they like?
2. The word “annual” suggests they may want to take the chance to make a habit and charge such fee on an annual basis regardless, are they allowed to do so?

What are my position and potential actions if they are not allowed to do so?

Thanks

Mike



Comments

Neil Patterson

6 months ago

Hi Mike,

Unfortunately this seems to be quite common now and you are not alone!

You will need to read your lease contract carefully to see what it says about charges and how and when they can be applied.

There is also the leasehold advisory service to check out >> https://www.lease-advice.org/

Mark Lynham

6 months ago

which company is this? but like Neil says, check your lease to see if there are provisions for this..

Mike Wang

6 months ago

Thanks Neil, Mark.

The lease on this particular leasehold property only states:
Not to assign or transfer the property without prior freeholder written consent, there is no clause mentioning fee or charge for this.
Furthermore, the wording is assign or transfer, not sublet or underlet.

The management company is called Y and Y property management, in fact it's also the freeholder. It probably is the most ugly and disgusting company in the country, as I had a few encounters previously them and their director. There are some reviews online, all of which are worse than negative.

I guess the question really is,

1. Are they allowed to add such fee into service charge?
2. Are they allowed to charge such fee on annual basis?

Thanks

Dave Smith

6 months ago

Myself and fellow Landlords at a large development are currently taking legal advice on this - the lease is vauge on if this charge for 'registration' of tenants can be charged, and there is also a fee for 'permission to sublet' however in our case providing you let with less than a 2 year AST permission is not required. I know of developments where you need permission and then registration each change over and /or annually. Its all part of the monetisation of leases thats been going on in the industry these past few years.
Your leases is the only thing that can tell you if its allowed. It should not be included with the service charge - its quite a different fee.

Lesley Clarke

6 months ago

Oh this sounds so familiar! (I actually posted an article on this website about this issue). I am in the same position with a Manchester based company that is trying to charge a new "notice to sublet" fee. Although my lease says I do not need permission to sublet if I have a AST of no more than 2 years, the Freeholder is arguing that the fee is not for PERMISSION to sublet but to REGISTER the property as sublet. As with your lease, there is a similar clause in my lease stating we have to inform the Freeholder of "every assignment, disposition, devolution of or charge on or transfer of title to the premises" - no mention of subletting - but the Freeholder is arguing that an assignment, devolution, disposition etc includes subletting. You can contact Leasehold Law or the Leasehold advisory service however you might have to take them to court to get the court to rule on this issue.

Shining Wit

6 months ago

I have exactly the same issue with Y&Y.
My lease mentions the same AST fee ('reasonable', but not less than £65+VAT) to register a new AST (no permission required for not more than 6 months AST).
Y&Y try to charge an annual fee (£90+VAT) - presumably because its easier to keep track of.
However, there is nothing in the lease about this charge.
Do you (want to) pay the AST fee - or would the annual fee be better?
I pay the AST REGISTRATION fee, but not the Annual charge - because that is what my lease requires.


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