How to address loss of income from car parking space?

by Readers Question

10:37 AM, 16th March 2020
About 10 months ago

How to address loss of income from car parking space?

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How to address loss of income from car parking space?

We own a flat, with underground car park, which we let out (independent of the flat) as most of the tenants do not have a need for parking space, since the property is close to offices and lots of public transport.

We were recently informed by the managing agent of the block (we later found out that this was on the instruction of the directors of the RTM company) that letting out the parking spaces (to non-residents of the flats) will no longer be allowed. They cite the fact that they a) have experienced problems from some of the renters of such spaces and b) that subletting the spaces is a breach of the Lease (which is debatable).

I have written to the directors of the RTM, expressing my dissatisfaction with the intended exercise (they have not responded as yet) and wonder what else I should be doing to stop them from implementing this plan?

Does anyone have similar experience, and if so, how was it resolved?

We have owned our flat (and the parking space) from when the property was built, more than 15 years ago, and this matter never came up the entire time.

We spent a lot of money to buy the car parking space when we bought the flat, which most flat owners do not have.

Many thanks

Dray


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Michael O

21:41 PM, 16th March 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by moneymanager at 16/03/2020 - 21:28
Many thanks. That's a very interesting angle to approach it from.

They quote the Lease Clause "No part of the Premises shall be used or permitted to be used for any purpose save that of a single private dwelling" then claim that the car parking space forms a "part" of the the premises....

Seething Landlord

23:27 PM, 16th March 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael O at 16/03/2020 - 21:41
You really need to read the lease as a whole, including in particular the definition of "the Premises". If the parking space is on a separate lease, that is the one that you need to analyse.

moneymanager

10:15 AM, 17th March 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by moneymanager at 16/03/2020 - 21:28
That should read "I have NOT had that view contested"

moneymanager

11:43 AM, 17th March 2020
About 10 months ago

"They quote the Lease Clause "No part of the Premises shall be used or permitted to be used for any purpose save that of a single private dwelling" then claim that the car parking space forms a "part" of the the premises...."

Read the lease, the front will have the address, it will be defined on the LR schedule and there is usually a list of terms used one of which will be "Premises" followed by a reference to the Part/Schedule where the, very precise "Premises" is defined in detail, you should also have a floor plan; the clause about single private dwelling can usually be confined to that apartment, it's purpose has nothing to do with the CP but seeks to curtail usage for such as multiple families, a dentist surgery, you name it, short term letting is more typically controlled under subletting restraints.

Re: wants to levy owners of car parking spaces additionally. It will be the first time this will be done,

so really odd that they, at the same time, want to imply owners of such spaces cannot let them out.

That leaseholders haven't been charged to date could be as an oversight of the previous agent, we pay a small service charge and the lease defined peppercorn ground rent. If the CP lease specifies neither a specific charge nor is worded to allow one then they can't, period, although SOME of the car park costs will be in your apartment SC because that's probably where bin rooms and maintenance facilities are, any specific CP SC will be for your purchased space such as cleaning.

I am more busy than I thought I was going to be today because a W10 update has just blitzed several days of work (Excel grrrr.) but if you want and P110 facilitate I could take a look at the leases if you like.

Freda Blogs

13:42 PM, 17th March 2020
About 10 months ago

Hi Dray, the 'premises', usually referred to as the demise, will most probably be delineated by a red line on the lease plan. From what you say, I doubt that the car parking space forms part of the original demise of the apartment, as you say you bought it separately, and unless there is some cross referencing to car parking spaces in the lease, or there is some limitation on the lease of the car parking space, it seems unlikely that the phrase you quote actually does refer to the parking spaces.

From what you say, it looks as though the agents* and/or the RTM company are sending out mixed messages and my suggestion would be to specifically ask them:

- what is the legal basis and status of this ruling: i.e. which clause(s) of the lease exactly are they relying on;
- what is the evidence that car parking spaces rented to 3rd parties are the source of 'the problem';
- what exactly is 'the problem' and what is the evidence of it?
- if they are looking to let spaces, what excepts them from following the same 'rules'?
- why, after 15 years of letting the car parking space to third parties, are they are now claiming it is a breach of the lease?

I question whether it is a breach of the lease at all.

It may also be that after allowing spaces to be let for so long without challenge, they have effectively 'acquiesced in the breach' (legal term). They may therefore be prevented under the legal basis of estoppel from changing the rules now.

If the potential loss of income to you is going to be material, then (perhaps jointly with other affected flat owners) you may wish to seek legal advice.

It would certainly be worth firing a shot across the RTM co/agents' bows in the first instance to challenge them on the basis of this so-called 'ruling'.

*Are the managing agents ARMA members? Properly qualified in any way?

Good luck, and please keep us posted.

Michael O

20:29 PM, 17th March 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 17/03/2020 - 13:42
Freda I'm immensely grateful. Many thanks. I'll keep you guys updated

Michael O

20:29 PM, 17th March 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by moneymanager at 17/03/2020 - 11:43
Thank you so much

Puzzler

7:39 AM, 21st March 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael O at 16/03/2020 - 21:07Land registry website should have it, you can purchase a copy of the lease(s) for less than £10. Odd that you don't have this, you should have been given a copy when you bought the property. If separate it will have a separate title. RTM companies are made up of owners I believe, are you a member of the company? Also I am confused following this thread, are "Dray" and "Michael O" one and the same?

If the space is not mentioned in the flat lease, the clause they rely on should not apply

moneymanager

9:17 AM, 21st March 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 21/03/2020 - 07:39
"Seperate Title", not neccessarily; in this development each apartment and space (if any) sold on fiirst sale SIMULATANEOUSLY are on separate leases but same Title, any purchased later will be on both their own lease and Title, you could join them but there's not much point and it makes it more awkward if you want to sell it on its own. We have actually had to get landlord's permission to split the title on sale where we have wanted to keep the space.

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