Here is a question to the blog clinic from Joe who is a landlord:
I am a landlord and rent out two flats in a block consisting of 24 apartments.
I have been trying to let both properties for some time but have met all manner of difficulties with the block management company who insist on vetting the prospective tenants themselves as they have standards they need to adhere to. I understand their policy but feel their interference is overkill.
Firstly, they take an eternity to respond with their decision, the last one took two weeks and the applicants withdrew because they were tired of waiting. The application before that, they rejected the applicants because they were two young men fresh out of university and implied they would be troublemakers by saying ‘there will be some objections from other residents’.
Can the block management or freeholder interfere in this way? Surely it is my business who I choose to let my property to and should be trusted to vet them accordingly.
I should add that the vetting of tenants is not mentioned in the lease agreement, I only found out about this when I paid the sub-letting service charge.
Joe, if your lease does not authorise the freeholder to approve your tenants then I do not see how they can have the right to do this.
The terms of what you and your freeholder can do in relation to your flats are set out in the lease. Often permission is required for a leaseholder to let property to a tenant and this is quite normal.
One reason why a freeholder would want to have the power to refuse consent is that in some circumstances a property can become an HMO (and need licensing) if more than one third of the flats are let to tenants.
However this permission is to whether the landlord can or cannot let. I have never heard of a freeholder actually monitoring the tenants who the leaseholder rents his property to.
To have this right, there would have to be something authorising it in your lease. So I suggest you check your lease VERY carefully (and maybe get it looked at by a property solicitor).
If there is no mention in it of their right to do this, then I suggest you write to the freeholders pointing out that they have no right to interfere in this way.
If they are difficult about this you could also mention that you are taking legal advice on whether you have a claim against them for your financial losses due to their earlier interference.