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Share of freehold - who/what are neighbours/tenures?

including wills and probate
DiamondEcho
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Share of freehold - who/what are neighbours/tenures?

#255135

Postby DiamondEcho » October 1st, 2019, 1:54 pm

I live in a share of freehold building as a flat-owner and with a share in the freehold company. The building is managed (poorly) by a managing agent. I am concerned about who lives in a number of flats in the building, let to one individual, as the tenants seem to frequently change, so sub-letting or 'under-letting' appears to be taking place. I am concerned that occupancy of the building is not such that it prejudices the building insurance.

I asked the managing agent who lives here and what their tenures are, but they declined to tell me suggesting that 'due to GPDR' those that live here would have to permit such disclosure. I don't know if that's true but I have a feeling the agent do not know who lives here.

As a share of freeholder/director do I have shared responsibility/liability to ensure lease obligations are being met?

pochisoldi
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Re: Share of freehold - who/what are neighbours/tenures?

#255152

Postby pochisoldi » October 1st, 2019, 3:10 pm

Assumption: You are a director of the freehold company, which means that you can instruct the managing agent. (If you aren't then you need to get yourself on the board).

DiamondEcho wrote:I live in a share of freehold building as a flat-owner and with a share in the freehold company. The building is managed (poorly) by a managing agent. I am concerned about who lives in a number of flats in the building, let to one individual, as the tenants seem to frequently change, so sub-letting or 'under-letting' appears to be taking place. I am concerned that occupancy of the building is not such that it prejudices the building insurance.


What makes you think that the buildings insurance policy may be prejudiced?
What does the lease say about subletting?

DiamondEcho wrote:I asked the managing agent who lives here and what their tenures are, but they declined to tell me suggesting that 'due to GPDR' those that live here would have to permit such disclosure. I don't know if that's true but I have a feeling the agent do not know who lives here.


The reality here is this:
They only know who the long leaseholders are.
The freeholder and the managing agent aren't party to the subtenancies.
Unless the lease required notification of subtenancies, and this requirement has been enforced, then they won't know who the subtenants are.

In short the managing agent, instead of telling you "like it is", they've fired off the GDPR excuse.

DiamondEcho wrote:As a share of freeholder/director do I have shared responsibility/liability to ensure lease obligations are being met?


You need to split that sentence in two.

As a director, you are responsible as a company officer, for ensuring that the freeholder's obligations are met.
This includes fulfilling the freeholder's duties to long leaseholders, and ensuring that long leaseholders comply with their obligations to the freeholder.

As a shareholder (alone), you have no direct responsibility/obligation. However if you stand idly by whilst the freehold company becomes a train crash, and the company runs out of money because they've been sued, you could end up with a worthless share in a dissolved company, and a new freeholder...

If you are not a director of the freehold company, consider offering your services.

If you are a director, then examine what kind of service your managing agent is providing.
Some managing agents need a clip round the earhole/pointing in the right direction every once in a while, especially if they have been "left to it".
You might want to consider looking around for a replacement - this obviously depends on where you are.
Conversation with people who live in other blocks of flats, might throw up some names.
Consider finding out the names of people on tenants association committees and boards of directors of other blocks, who may be able to help you.
Don't be afraid to terminate the existing managing agent's contract - the only thing to check is that the accounts are in order and there are no financial shenanigans.

PochiSoldi

AF62
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Re: Share of freehold - who/what are neighbours/tenures?

#255157

Postby AF62 » October 1st, 2019, 3:32 pm

pochisoldi wrote:instead of telling you "like it is", they've fired off the GDPR excuse.


Agree with all you say, but GDPR would also apply - a shareholder certainly shouldn't be told who the sub-letting tenant is, and doubtful that it would be legitimate to tell a director either.

As for getting a new managing agent - I wish you luck with that as they all seem to be as bad as each other.

pochisoldi
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Re: Share of freehold - who/what are neighbours/tenures?

#255167

Postby pochisoldi » October 1st, 2019, 4:00 pm

AF62 wrote:
pochisoldi wrote:instead of telling you "like it is", they've fired off the GDPR excuse.


Agree with all you say, but GDPR would also apply - a shareholder certainly shouldn't be told who the sub-letting tenant is, and doubtful that it would be legitimate to tell a director either.


In my experience, any request for information to a MA from a shareholder would get bounced to a director for the inevitable "No you can't" decision

Any request from a director would require some degree of justification - "Can I have X so that I can do Y?" as a minimum.
But in this case there is no justification for the GDPR excuse.

The reality is that the information required is "How many properties are being sublet?" or "Which leaseholders are subletting their flats?".
The first request releases no personal information, and the second request is a legitimate use of personal information by the company in their discharge of their duty as freeholder of the building.

If the long leaseholder is required under the terms of the lease to inform the freeholder when they sublet, getting permission is irrelevant, as the leaseholder would have a duty to provide the information anyway.

AF62 wrote:As for getting a new managing agent - I wish you luck with that as they all seem to be as bad as each other.


Hint: Go to a managing agent in a neighbouring town who wants to expand, rather than an agent already in town in a saturated but uncompetitive market. (For example, block of flats in Brighton and Hove - look to Lewes, Worthing or Haywards Heath, not among the established cow milkers or wannabe new boys/fly by nights in BN1 to BN3)

AF62
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Re: Share of freehold - who/what are neighbours/tenures?

#255173

Postby AF62 » October 1st, 2019, 4:17 pm

pochisoldi wrote:Any request from a director would require some degree of justification - "Can I have X so that I can do Y?" as a minimum.
But in this case there is no justification for the GDPR excuse.

The reality is that the information required is "How many properties are being sublet?" or "Which leaseholders are subletting their flats?".
The first request releases no personal information, and the second request is a legitimate use of personal information by the company in their discharge of their duty as freeholder of the building.

If the long leaseholder is required under the terms of the lease to inform the freeholder when they sublet, getting permission is irrelevant, as the leaseholder would have a duty to provide the information anyway.


Sure, but my response was based on the understanding that the question asked wasn't how many or which flats were sublet, but personal information on who was living there which I think would definitely fall within GDPR and shouldn't be disclosed to a shareholder and doubtful to a director.

DiamondEcho wrote:I asked the managing agent who lives here and what their tenures are, but they declined to tell me suggesting that 'due to GPDR' those that live here would have to permit such disclosure.

Clitheroekid
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Re: Share of freehold - who/what are neighbours/tenures?

#256256

Postby Clitheroekid » October 6th, 2019, 8:43 pm

As always in these cases, the first place to look is the lease.

There may be a covenant that completely prohibits sub-letting, in which case the freeholder / manco can write to the leaseholder and demand that they stop the practice entirely.

More commonly, the covenant will allow sub-letting on shorthold tenancies but will also require that the name and address of the sub-tenant is provided to the landlord. As the OP is a joint landlord he could therefore insist on seeing that information, and the GDPR is irrelevant.


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