What information is it reasonable for a freeholder to demand?

by Readers Question

15:37 PM, 21st June 2018
About 5 months ago

What information is it reasonable for a freeholder to demand?

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What information is it reasonable for a freeholder to demand?

For the first time ever (I have been renting out flats since 1984) I have a situation where a freeholder is choosing to enforce the clause in the lease which demands knowledge of the underletting.

Whilst there is no doubt whatsoever that they have a legal (if not, in my opinion, an entirely moral) right to do this I question just how much information they are entitled to demand. Further, is some of it even legal for me to pass on to them under the new GDPR regime?

What they are asking for:
• A copy of the current AST (which contains personal details of my tenant beyond their name – such as their email address and phone number)
• To confirm whether the property is let to asylum seekers, DSS (sic), or students
• Emergency contact details for myself and for the tenant
• To pay various fees

Leaving aside the last point as I already know how I intend to respond on that one, I struggle to understand what legitimate reasons they have for wanting this information beyond using it as a basis on which to pursue further fees from me.

Whilst I can understand that the status of the tenant can affect some insurances (it certainly does have an impact on the standard landlord insurances that I put in place) I have never become aware that it is an issue for the kind of block insurance put in place by the freeholder (more accurately, the management company running the block).

The full text of the relevant clause from the lease is reproduced below.

I guess what I am really interested in understanding is just how little (as a sheer matter of principle on my part) I can get away with providing in order to be strictly in compliance with the lease.

I am tempted to respond with this and nothing more:
• The name of the tenant
• The start date of the tenancy and the initial period (no copy of the AST itself)
• The status of the tenant

The clause from the lease is somewhat vague and open-ended and reads in full:

“To give to the Landlord and the Management Company notice of every dealing with or underletting or transmission of the legal estate in the Demised Premises including all mortgages or legal charges of the Demised Premises within twenty one days after the same shall occur and to pay to each of the Landlord and the Management Company such reasonable registration fees (but being not less that £50.00) and any VAT properly chargeable thereon as the Landlord the Management Company and the Estate Management Company respectively shall from time to time determine.”

I have owned the particular flat concerned since 2006 and this is the first time that any such demand has been made.

Many thanks

Badger



Comments

Neil Patterson

15:41 PM, 21st June 2018
About 5 months ago

Hi Badger,

This is a very interesting question especially from a GDPR perspective.

The individual subject of the information has not given permission under consent or by contract with the freeholder to store or process any data that could identify an individual.

I would therefore ask the Freeholder for a copy of their Privacy Policy and if they are registered with the ICO.

Gary Nock

5:27 AM, 22nd June 2018
About 5 months ago

They can only ask for that which is contained in the lease. Ask them where it contains a requirement to provide the information requested, and for their GDPR Privacy Policy. In the meantime and in accordance with that lease which states:

“To give to the Landlord and the Management Company NOTICE of every dealing with or underletting or transmission of the legal estate in the Demised Premises including all mortgages or legal charges of the Demised Premises within twenty one days after the same shall occur "

Somewhere within the lease may be the definition of the term "Notice" and what it constitutes. But if not then you stick to the information required on the lease -i.e

" Notice Under Part X ( Paragraph xx ) Of A Lease Dated xxxxxx between xxxx and xxxx dated xxxxxx.

This is formal notification of an underlease,namely a 6 /12 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy on the property known as xxxxxx which commenced on xxxxxx"

You have then complied with the lease - unless it contains a definition of the term
" Notice" or there is something in statute which over rides it.

Ian Cognito

10:44 AM, 22nd June 2018
About 5 months ago

When requested by Managing Agent for tenant name, email and mobile (which may be needed in case of emergency) I ask tenant if OK to provide info before responding.

When copy of Tenancy Agreement is required, I send non-personalised template. I can understand why a Freeholder (via the Managing Agent) might want to ensure that properties are let under terms that comply with headlease. That said, I guess info is simply filed away and box ticked.

Badger

11:04 AM, 22nd June 2018
About 5 months ago

Many thanks for the comments so far - very useful.

I am a cynical old git though, and I am 99.99% certain that what this is all about is deriving an income stream from the admin fees.

Please keep the comments coming.

terry sullivan

11:47 AM, 22nd June 2018
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 21/06/2018 - 15:41
i have e and m asking for same--i have refused and suggested they apply to tenant direct

Sharon Machon

13:07 PM, 22nd June 2018
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 22/06/2018 - 11:04
I agree with you. I have a flat owned since 2004 and in the last month or so I have received the same letter. This looks like a money generating exercise as they have not enforced this clause before. E&M are demanding a fee to register and then a renewal fee six months later when the AST either gets renewed or defaults to a rolling statutory periodic tenancy. If you issue a new AST every 6 months their fees soon mount up!

Chris Bunn

16:41 PM, 22nd June 2018
About 5 months ago

I had a similar letter years ago.I had to inform E&M that I was letting my property and gain permission from them under the lease terms. I did this and was granted the right to let my flat at a admin cost about £50. The next letter I got was a year or so later asking me if the same tenants were in place. If new tenants were in place they wanted to grant permission again for another admin fee. I pointed out that I had been granted permission to let from them already. I could not find the clause in the lease that said I must apply more than once. Could they please point it out to me. If they just wanted information from me I would happily comply with the request. Just send me £50 admin fee. That was the end of it I never got a reply.

terry sullivan

6:52 AM, 23rd June 2018
About 5 months ago

e and m are sh#2s!

its time leashold was abolished completely--it is not needed

Chris

10:41 AM, 23rd June 2018
About 5 months ago

What is a reasonable fee for freeholder granting permission to let and to renew consent please?

Ian Cognito

11:07 AM, 23rd June 2018
About 5 months ago

I wouldn't quibble with £30.

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