Q. I have recently purchased a Leasehold property for investment and intend to rent it out as soon as the refurbishment has been completed. I have heard that if you have a leasehold property and intend to rent it out, in effect sub-let you need to notify the managing agent who are then likely to charge you a fee for consent, can you advise?
A. A Leasehold apartment owner is generally free to sell or let the premises demised to them without their freeholders consent, unless the terms of the lease or tenancy require that such consent is needed. Leases of residential premises, especially those granted for long terms, do not usually include any restriction on assignment but will often require that the freeholders consent be obtained before any subletting of the premises takes place. It will be an implied term that such consent cannot be unreasonably withheld according to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927. In addition the leaseholder will usually be required to notify the freeholder whenever the apartment is sublet, usually within a specified time period following the date of the commencement of the tenancy agreement. The freeholder has every right to charge an administration fee. The freeholder could withhold consent, provided it was reasonable to do so and it would also be reasonable to withhold consent pending the payment of a reasonable administration fee. In the case of a tenant renewing where a freeholder has already approved an application for consent to underlet (sublet) premises to a particular tenant, and a second application is then made to grant a further tenancy on the same terms to the same tenant, it is unlikely that a further fee from the freeholder would be justifiable.
I would strongly suggest you contact your managing agents now prior to the tenancy commencing to see what action needs to be taken, to ensure that you are not in breach of lease. They will likely send out a simple consent to sublet form that needs to be completed and returned with the applicable fee. If you are having the property fully managed by your agent it is also worth giving their details to the managing agent too so that they can send your service charge and ground rent demands directly to the agent to settle on your behalf from the rental income.