Freehold Managers Unreasonable Fees for Subletting Consent

by Readers Question

10:09 AM, 2nd December 2013
About 7 years ago

Freehold Managers Unreasonable Fees for Subletting Consent

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Freehold Managers Unreasonable Fees for Subletting Consent

Hello everyone, especially the legal people amongst you.

I am in DESPERATE need of legal advice!

I am sure this has been discussed in one form or another before but I would like to make it very personal and specific to me if that is OK.

I have been in a virtual argument with my landlord for quite some time now. Freehold Managers Unreasonable Fees for Subletting Consent

I own an apartment which I let out (sub-let effectively) and MY landlord is insisting on money for :-

Subletting registration – £78

Sub letting consent – £48 (I think that’s the cost)

The registration is expected each and every time a new tenant moves in!

My argument is that this is totally unreasonable, unfair and extortionate!

Then they are trying to charge me £78 each and every time they send a letter. Now surely this is extortionate for something that cost pence to produce and a couple of pounds to administer.

Be damned if I know why I have both these company names on the letter heads / invoices.

I think there is a huge principal at point here and more so because of their bully tactics and lack of customer service.
In addition to this It seems that there is no legal way to challenge anything they choose to charge and that just cannot be right or fair!

PLEASE can someone help?

By the way I did go down the route of quoting a certain case where the judge stated that a fair and reasonable cost would be x,y,z. They chose to ignore that.

Time is short and costs are spiraling – please can we do something about these faceless, remorseless morons!? It literally makes me sick to my stomach.

Thanks

John Sweet



Comments

John Frith

14:17 PM, 27th October 2015
About 5 years ago

Hi Rob,

Unfortunately I can't do this for you - you have to argue your case. They will inflate their charges as much as they think they can get away with, you have to be prepared to only pay a reasonable amount.

Not sure why you are offering to pay the full amount. Once they have this you are unlikely to get anything back without taking them to court.

Rob Preddy

19:45 PM, 27th October 2015
About 5 years ago

I paid as I didnt want them to have any reason to be able to inflate the charges further if I took things further. I still think £75 plus VAt is excessive and based on this case...

http://www.landstribunal.gov.uk/judgmentfiles/j823/LRX-33-34-76-102-2011.pdf

(page 9 clause 17)

"17. The appellants seek to justify the consent fee in terms that apply to all consents, and they
do so by setting out (see paragraph 13 above) a list of work that, it is claimed, their agents do.
It looks to me to be a list of all the things that could conceivably be done in connection with
the grant of consent rather than the things that would need to be done in a typical case or that
were in fact done in the cases under consideration. I agree with Mrs Norton that in relation to
her shorthold tenancy agreement there was no need for the lease to be perused and that, in view
of the covenant, there was no need for the tenancy agreement to be examined or for the
documentation to be reviewed by the legal department. I am wholly unpersuaded by the
appellant’s assertion that it would have been necessary for an administrator to spend
approximately two hours dealing with the application and the legal department about one hour.
In the absence of any information on the part of the appellant as to what was actually done, by whom and how long it took, I am not satisfied that a fee of £105 for the grant of consent in
addition to fees for the covenant was justified or that consent could reasonably have been
refused in the event that Mrs Norton had refused to pay it. The same goes in relation to Dr
Rudnay. Doing the best I can on what is before me, I conclude that a fee greater than £40 plus
VAT could not be justified, and I determine that this amount is payable. In relation to the other
two cases a fee of £135 was sought – higher than the £105 because, it was said, the consent
was a retrospective one. The appellants have done nothing to show that in these two cases
extra costs were incurred. I therefore determine that the amount payable in each case is £40
plus VAT."

and I'm thinking of applying this to my case. what do you think?

Is my next step to get a 'no-win no-fee' solicitor involved for me?

Mark Lynham

11:38 AM, 6th November 2015
About 5 years ago

Funny how charges vary... im a letting agent but currently completing a Consent To Sublet Request for one of my landlords where the local council is the freeholder.... their charge for this....... £10.

James Feehily

0:08 AM, 9th December 2015
About 5 years ago

Hello

I would welcome a view on the excerpt from my Lease below. Simarc are now charging 100 pounds plus VAT for Notice to Underlet (Lease says not less than 30 pounds plus VAT)-also does this text give them to claim a Notice to Underlet?

Thanks

“within one month after the date of any and every assignment …. Underlease or tenancy agreement (including any immediate or derivative tenancy agreement of the whole of the Demised Premises) for any term…..to give or procure to be given to the Lessor notice in writing of such disposition…. With full particulars thereof and also at the same time to produce or cause to be produced to them a certified copy of the document affecting or (as the case may be) evidencing such disposition and to pay or cause to the paid at the same time to the Lessor such reasonable fee (not being less than £30 plus VAT) appropriate at the time of registration in respect of any such notice perusal of documents and registration affecting the Demised Premises…”

The lease can be no clearer in its meaning that Notice is to be served upon the Freeholder and they are certainly entitled to their reasonable fee and a copy of the Tenancy Agreement.

Lesley Clarke

11:55 AM, 27th July 2017
About 3 years ago

I have just been sent a demand for a new annual payment of £126 to allow me to sublet my investment flat.
My lease states, “Not to underlet the premises without prior written consent of the Landlord which shall not be unreasonably withheld and paying the Landlord’s reasonable administrative and legal costs in respect of the same but such consent shall not be necessary in respect of any lettings on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for a period not exceeding two years”.

I advised the management company that as I let out my property on an Assured Shorthold Tenancey agreement I did not need to pay the new fee. They have quoted another section of the lease as their "legal" basis for the new charge, which says,
"At all times during the term to deliver to the landlord a notice of every assignment disposition or devolution of or charge on or transfer of title to the premises or any part thereof whether by way of mortgage or otherwise within one month after the execution of any deed or document or after the date of any probate letters of administration or other instrument or any order of court by which such assignment disposition devolution charge or transfer is effected or evidenced such notice to specify the name address and description of the person or persons to whom or in whose favour the assignment disposition devolution charge or transfer shall be made to take effect and also at the time of delivering every such notice to produce the deed document instrument or order by which such assignment disposition or devolution charge or transfer shall purport to be effected or evidenced as aforesaid for the purpose of having a memorandum thereof entered in the registers to be kept by the landlord for that purpose and to pay to the landlord a reasonable fee (not being less than £50.00 plus VAT) for each such registration".

I sought legal advice and my solicitor said the section of the
lease they are trying to use refers to selling the property not renting it out. However when I relayed this to the management company they said the section includes subletting.
Can anyone advise if the management company can force me to pay a new annual fee when my lease states I do not need permission to sublet?

Gary Nock

12:02 PM, 27th July 2017
About 3 years ago

This is an administration charge and as such is subject to the service of a Summary Of Rights and Obligations:
http://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/summaries-rights-obligations-administration-charges-england/

This must be in the prescribed format and no less than 10 font. No summary - no requirement to pay. Summary in 6 font- as Simarc do- and I have used this on them - no requirement to pay.

If the development is an RTM Co - then under section 98 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act - no requirement to pay freeholder only serve notice on RTM who forward it to the freeholder with no fee.

John Frith

13:57 PM, 27th July 2017
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lesley Clarke" at "27/07/2017 - 11:55":

I would also challenge them on charging a "reasonable" fee. Fortunately the lease stipulates that the charge is: "for the purpose of having a memorandum thereof entered in the registers to be kept by the landlord for that purpose and to pay to the landlord a reasonable fee (not being less than £50.00 plus VAT) for each such registration".

£50 seems plenty for this minor administrative task.

Denice

14:59 PM, 29th July 2020
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob at 29/06/2014 - 23:00
Hi Rob,
You're probably tired of this matter, but I'm now dealing with Simarc regarding Freeholder 'registration fees' on my BTL property. They've quoted the same 4 cases:
MAN/00CG/LAC/2008/2004/005; LON/00BA/LAC/2009/004;
MAN00EU/LAC/2010/0016; MAN/00CG/LAC/2011/0003
Can you tell me the outcome in your case? Are you able/willing to point me in the right direction so I can argue at Tribunal? Please!
Thanks, Denice

Rob Preddy

20:04 PM, 29th July 2020
About A week ago

Hi, I'm sorry i cant be of any help. I ended up paying the fees as my wife and I sold the property and they refused to release any paperwork until we paid in full.
Good luck with your case.

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