Lease Covenants Discrimination?

by Readers Question

9:33 AM, 13th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Lease Covenants Discrimination?

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Lease Covenants Discrimination?

I have been told by the Directors that I am breaking the terms of my lease by having Laminate/wooden floor instead of carpet and sub-letting the flat out. Discrimination

However I have found 6 instances from recent flat sales in the same block that have wooden flooring and I have also identified other landlords in the premises. I have highlighted this and have been told that some of the flats with wooden flooring are ground floor flats so it doesn’t impact anyone.

How can they apply the terms of the lease to me and not to the rest? Appreciate I am breaking the terms, but then so is everyone else.

Have the Directors got a leg to stand on if they take me to court for not complying. I am collecting property particulars from Rightmove showing the flats with wooden flooring and details of other landlords.

Any advice or guidance in this matter would be appreciated

Yusuf



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:40 AM, 13th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Yusuf,

As you have been told the ban on wooden flooring is very common in flats to stop noise pollution for the flat below. Hence Ground floor flats may get away with it and the Freeholders may not have been aware of non ground floor flats with wooden floors until you pointed it out.

It is also not unheard of for you to need permission from the Freeholders to let the property, but it is normally possible to apply for permission and they may charge a fee, which is what the other owners may have done, but not guaranteed.

I would recommend keeping a good open relationship and hopefully they may not be too confrontational and avoid the need to go the legal route.

Steven Burman

10:22 AM, 13th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Yusuf,

You dont say how the Directors are aware that you have laminate flooring but it is reasonable to suspect that a neighbour (probably the flat below yours) had complained about the noise?

Unfortunately for you, the argument that you put forward that others also have wooden flooring makes no difference (2 wrongs don't make right etc.) and the outcome is that other leaseholder who fall foul of the covenant are likely to be put in the same position as you sooner or later. The only exception may be the ground floor flats which are generally overlooked as the noise impact on others is minimal.

It may be best to speak to your downstairs neighbour to find out if their is a noise issue. If there is then you will probably have no alternative but to comply. If not, then you could use this in mitigation.

terry sullivan

12:27 PM, 13th September 2016
About 2 years ago

fee to sub-let is contentious--are you sub-letting? perhaps AST is not subletting--a long-term lease would be subletting. anyone know exact definition? --wooden flooring on upper floors is a no-no--cover with rugs?

Neal Craven

13:43 PM, 14th September 2016
About 2 years ago

I have seen a case where a landlord got forfeiture due to laminate flooring issue, last i was aware the tenant was trying to claim relief but had an uphill struggle.

Puzzler

13:48 PM, 14th September 2016
About 2 years ago

I have a similar lease - it only applies to upper floors so if the other flats you mention are on the ground floor you would have no comeback

It's to reduce noise as someone else said so if I were you I would I would carpet it. You should have read the lease a bit more carefully. Your question on subletting is not clear? Are they saying you can't?

Yusuf Patas

14:32 PM, 14th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steven Burman" at "13/09/2016 - 10:22":

Hi Steven, unsure how they know, maybe the downstairs flat 6 years go must have seen the builder bringing in the laminate board or may have visited the tenant at some point over the last few years.

Yusuf Patas

14:34 PM, 14th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "terry sullivan" at "13/09/2016 - 12:27":

Hi Terry, The flat has been on rent since I purchased it over 6 years ago, funny thing is I had a buy to let mortgage on it during the purchase so I didn't pick up the sub-let statement, the conveyancer didn't pick it up and also the mortgage company didn't pick it up.

Yusuf Patas

14:40 PM, 14th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Puzzler " at "14/09/2016 - 13:48":

Hi Puzzler, they are saying I can't have flooring and I can't sub lease, I am aware of other first floor flats with flooring and I am aware of other landlords, shouldn't the lease be amended to reflect the fact that ground floor are exempt from carpeting. Furthermore it's been six years, from day one it has been on rent.

Puzzler

18:34 PM, 14th September 2016
About 2 years ago

If what you say is true then it is discrimination and is illegal if it can be shown that it is on the basis of race religion etc. What's not clear from your post - how many flats in total, who is the freeholder, is there a management company of which you are a shareholder - can you tally up the other landlords and hard flooring flats and find out if they're being treated the same or call a general meeting? It may be they're going after them as well. Does it actually say no sub-letting in the lease?

John Pettman

12:13 PM, 17th September 2016
About 2 years ago

As in most queries the first thing to do is READ THE LEASE In some there is a total prohibition on any underletting but this is unusual . More common in about 1 in six cases there are conditions e.g the restrictions in your Lease are contained in the A.S.T which you should be doing in any case. More usual you need someones consent e.g the freeholder or management co and sometimes this provision is used as a money making exercise they require a fee but make no enquiries about the tenant . However this can be a safeguard that Landlordst with no real interest just dump the drug dealing alcoholic scumbags of society in the block and causes the service charges to increase because of the problems they cause. If you got a Buy to Let mortgage I would be very surprised that the conveyance did not draw to,your particular attention the specific requirements set out in the Lease. It is very common in a residential Lease that there is a requirement to have rooms (Except the kitchen and bathroom ) carpeted . You don't want continual complaints from your tenants of the noise from above do you . This provision is surely in everyone's interest particularly in older flats where the acoustic standards do not match current days standards. ALWAYS READ YOUR LEASE do not think you can do what you think in a Leasehold property

John Pettman

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