Tenant information requested by freehold managing agents

by Readers Question

12:30 PM, 25th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Tenant information requested by freehold managing agents

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Tenant information requested by freehold managing agents

I own four flats in a block of 16. The managing agent has been asking me for £30 per flat per annum as the flats are let out, which I am still arguing about as I don’t believe my lease entitles them to this. They also want to know details of my tenants, such as their phone numbers and whether they are on benefits.

I have always told my tenants that as I live around the corner they are to use my contact details in an emergency.

Even if I am away I have people locally whom I leave spare keys with and who will respond.

I am reluctant to give the managing agents contact details of the tenants. I don’t necessarily know which of my tenants are on benefits and don’t think I can pass this information on because of the Data Protection Act if I do know. They apparently have been asked by their insurers who will inflate the premium if there are any residents on benefits.

What do you think? Tenant information requested by freehold managing agents

Edna



Comments

Chris Amis

15:00 PM, 25th September 2013
About 5 years ago

My freeholder just changed the cover basis and when I complained said I should get better tenants.

And the price of insurance still went up.

Rob

16:19 PM, 25th September 2013
About 5 years ago

One of my freeholders on 6 of my flats "simarc" charges me £75 per year because I rent out the propertys or £106 if a new tenant moves in, I have refused to pay this for the last 12 months and as yet they have not done anything about it other than re sending the same letter over and over. I am questioning weather they are legally aloud to charge this as if they were they would have surely applied charges by now for non payment. But they have not! I also got letters asking for tenant details which I put in the bin.

Mark Alexander

16:30 PM, 25th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob walsh" at "25/09/2013 - 16:19":

Hi Rob, it's probably wrong to do so but I know a lot of landlords who just bin these letters and no harm has ever come to them.

A while back now somebody left a comment on one of our forums citing a case that had been to Court regarding this. Apparently the judge ruled that £40 was a "reasonable" fee for a freeholder management agent to charge a landlord for consent to let. This wasn't an annual fee, it was the charge for the admin related to each tenancy, regardless of how long the tenant remains in occupation. Perhaps the companies who send out these letters work on the basis that some will pay up and some won't and they simply write off those that don't on the basis that litigation would not be commercially viable and also that an adverse outcome could de-stabilise their business model for this practice?

Sian Wyatt

18:32 PM, 25th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Thank you for your replies so far. I know that £30 is not a huge sum to ask (a different management company has just sent me a demand for over a £100 for the first time on a flat I have owned for 11 years). The point is more can they demand this information about my tenants? One of them I know is on benefits and has mental health issues. If there is an emergency at the flat I want the managing agents to contact me not him. I don't know if any of the other tenants are on benefits and the council have confirmed that they will not give me this information, which I think is fair enough. Have the management company/insurers got a right to it when I don't?

Mark Alexander

18:57 PM, 25th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Edna " at "25/09/2013 - 18:32":

Hi Edna

I suggest the following response ...

Dear Sirs

Please find enclosed my cheque for £30 as requested.

Due to Date Protection legislation I am unable to disclose details of my tenants. You may be able to obtain their names from the electoral role as that is a matter of public record but I regret that my hands are tied in respect of the other information you have requested.

You are, of course, quite within your rights to write to all occupiers and ask them to disclose their financial status voluntarily, however, I seriously doubt they will answer your questions, would you?

Yours faithfully

......

Vanessa Warwick

8:23 AM, 26th September 2013
About 5 years ago

I would be very wary of doing anything that compromises a lease on a property.

I have found Simarc to be very aggressive in collecting their fees and I pay all of them as those are the terms of my lease.

Throwing letters in a bin that relate to your ownership of a property is a very bad idea imho.

If you breach the T & C's of your lease, it could be forfeited and you could lose the property.

Whether it has ever happened or not, is irrelevant to me. I don't want to be the test case that proves the point!

#justsaying

Mark Alexander

8:34 AM, 26th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "26/09/2013 - 08:23":

I agree Vanessa, I wouldn't want to be the test case either, hence my second post and suggested response to the freehold management company.

Rob

9:14 AM, 26th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Vanessa

Do you think what simarc are charging me is fair given the fact that in a court case a judge has said £30 is the maximum they can charge for a subletting fee? Plus they are charging me every 12 months regardless of weather it's a new tenant or an existing one. I have seen on another forum that someone offered them just £15 as a subletting fee and simarc accepted it. Personally I don't think they could or would take me to court for non payment of these fees when there fees are in fact unlawful in respect to the amount and the frequency of them, do you pay a similar amount as im being asked for every 12 months even if it's the same tenant?

Vanessa Warwick

9:22 AM, 26th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Rob,

I don't think "fair" comes into it.

You signed the lease and this is what you agreed to.

However, its worth challenging them on this and getting the fee reduced to £30.00.

To date, I have paid each year, but, thanks to your information, I will try challenging them next time. 🙂

Rob

9:44 AM, 26th September 2013
About 5 years ago

I think everybody has the given right to be treated fairly, and I don't remember signing a lease that says anybody can contact you at any time and charge you any amount of money for anything they choose and you have to pay it weather it's fair or not because you have signed this lease, if you get my point. I think having the lease forfeited over non payment of these charges is extreme as the first stage would be for simarc to detail what funds I owe them in respect to non payments and threaten court action, which is when my solicitor would step in to challenge simarc on the lawfulness of there charges and the frequency of them. Also as with ground rent simarc would I imagine would try to recover there charges from the mortgage company first, after explaining to the mortgage company that they are indeed trying to pull a fast one I beleive the mortgage company would also require proof from simarc that these charges are lawful. Leaseholders need to stand up to Companies like these that try to rip off leaseholders otherwise they will just continue.

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