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Leasehold fees

After 12 years of owning and renting out a flat, the freehold landlord has decided they want to start charging me an additional fee, on top of my existing leashold fees. The fee is described as an Annual Letting Consent Fee and is £50.

I looked into it.

The Lands Tribunals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 s 19(1)(a) and(b) sets out what is reasonable on the size of the subletting charge. It appears that £40 is the maximum charge, so I’ve written back to them pointing this out.

The Upper Chamber (Lands Tribunal) has recently concluded in a number of rulings about the rights of a freeholder landlord to charge a fee for the consenting to the underletting of the property and the ability of the freeholder to charge a fee.

In broad terms, a lease normally will state that where permission to underlet the property is required from the freeholder (landlord), this permission should not be unreasonably withheld. The charges that are due to the landlord leaseholder will depend on the exact wording in the lease, so an understanding of the lease is critical in all cases to properly understand your legal position.

Having looked at my lease I have no choice but to pay it, once we’ve finalised the amount.

Problems with corporate freehold companies.

Increasingly leasehold landlords are finding their freeholds are acquired and managed by big corporate entities who are looking to maximise their income. This means pushing up the fees and adminastration charges on their freehold estates.

I was recently put off purchasing a leasehold property because of the high costs of the leasehold ownership of the apartment.

Ironically, Peverel OM, the freehold owner of that block of apartments are no more; being one of the casualties of the credit crunch. They have since metamorphosed into first, the OM Group and now First Port.

Lessons of leasehold ownership

One lesson I’ve learned about leasehold ownership is to understand my rights as well as appreciating the added associated costs of a leasehold ownership. These added costs all need to be factored in when calculating the investment returns from a property – it all adds up.

I can see the irony of it all, shoe is on the other foot.

Leasehold landlords need to properly understand their rights to ensure that our landlord don’t exploit us.

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