New owner of downstairs flat saying I can’t let out property

by Readers Question

22:56 PM, 18th June 2015
About 3 years ago

New owner of downstairs flat saying I can’t let out property

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New owner of downstairs flat saying I can’t let out property

I own a 1st floor London flat in a 2 story purpose built maisonette in a residential street where the majority of flats are let out. It is share of freehold with a shared garden. New owner of downstairs flat saying I can't let out property

Recently the ground floor flat was sold and the new owner wanted me to exclude my tenants (4 people) from the garden as he wanted to enjoy sole access. I declined as my tenants have cleary rented my property on the basis that they can use the garden but I suggested he might want to buy it from me. Now he is quoting the lease (“… to keep and use the demised premises and all buildings for the time being standing thereon as a private flat and curtilage only in the occupation of one family and for no other purpose”) and insinuating I cannot let the flat out.

Clearly it was rented when he bought his, he knew this and was happy to proceed. The icing on the cake however is his last comment saying that if I effectively give him the garden he doesn’t mind me renting the flat out. So I guess a form of blackmail.

Anyone got any experience that may help here?

Clearly I am minded now to ensure he never, ever gets sole access to the garden.

Thanks in advance

Colin



Comments

Mark Alexander

23:01 PM, 18th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Colin

Clearly you are using the property in a way that is was not intended. As I see it, you neighbour is well within his rights to bring your breach of lease provisions to your attention.

What your neighbour is not entitled to do is to bribe you. If you give him the garden what's to stop him seeking to enforce the lease>

You need to consult a solicitor about this to see whether there is a way that you can negotiate a variation to the lease. If you dig you heels in I think you will come off worst, i.e. you will be forced to evict your four tenants or forfeit your lease.
.

patrick maher

10:05 AM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I assume the tenants are not one family? If they are, there is no restriction against letting to them.

David Aneurin

11:41 AM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with Patrick. I would suggest that the meaning of the sentence is to ensure that only one family is allowed to occupy the flat. It does not say that the leaseholder must occupy it so the owner of the flat below has misinterpreted the lease.

Romain Garcin

11:49 AM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

“… to keep and use the demised premises and all buildings for the time being standing thereon as a private flat and curtilage only in the occupation of one family and for no other purpose”

I don't see that this prevents letting the property in anyway as long as you do not let to sharers (as mentioned by Patrick).

David Aneurin

11:59 AM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Mark,
I think your interpretation is incorrect therefore if you check further it may be a case of withdrawing your comment

Mark Alexander

12:05 PM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Aneurin" at "19/06/2015 - 11:59":

Hi David

What do you think I have said that is incorrect?

I think we are all saying the same thing, i.e. he can let the property to a family but not 4 sharers. If he wants to be able to let to 4 sharers then he needs a variation to the lease and this will require negotiation and legal advice, hence my suggestion of professional assistance.
.

David Aneurin

12:13 PM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Sorry - misread your comment. It really revolves around the 4 people in the flat who we assume are not part of one family. Generally I have found that letting to a number of unconnected individuals leads to problems, creates extra wear and tear on any common areas so I as the other leaseholder would be against any change in the lease.

Mike Amapola

13:20 PM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Aneurin" at "19/06/2015 - 12:13":

Perhaps Colin can clarify the status of his tenants i.e sole family members or 4 sharers ?

Col Mac

15:34 PM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

Thanks for the input folks. The current tenants are sharers. If they were a family I would not be too concerned but I am furious that this person has bought the flat below knowing the one above is rented out and has now decided to take issue. Restricting it to a related family will clearly hugely impact my ability to rent it out though as he is resorting to a form of blackmail I could tell him I am going to advertise to DSS families of 5 members or more and see how he likes the thought of that 🙂

Col Mac

15:35 PM, 19th June 2015
About 3 years ago

I guess there is also a question of how the term "family" is interpreted legally for the purposes of a lease. 80% of the street is let out!

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