The Property Protocols website, a source of high-quality, free professional advice covering various aspects of the property industry, recently published a protocol to deal with Applications for Consent to Assign or Sublet. The document is succinct and practical, providing a simple framework for the process of obtaining Landlord’s consent. Consent to assign and sublet is necessary in the vast majority of leases and the protocol aims to provide a clear process for both parties to follow, complete with timescales and checklists.
The protocol sets out to clarify an area that is otherwise only bounded by the landlord’s ‘reasonableness’ – which itself would ultimately be for a Court to decide- but long before that point there needs to be a sense of direction and clarity for both parties if the assignment or subletting is to proceed smoothly. The protocol therefore sets out some check-list style points such as the information the tenant is to provide at the outset, what triggers the need for superior landlord’s consent and the information the landlord should cover in replying to the application. By the author’s admission, the protocol is not exhaustive, but as it is an unenforceable, voluntary procedure it is not designed to be exhaustive; more informative.
In terms of remedies should the process go wrong, the protocol suggests Alternative Dispute Resolution over litigation and proposes a number of ways this might be carried out, including some useful starting points for those looking for a mediator.
It is possible that those most likely to agree to follow the protocol are those least likely to run into difficulties, but having a clear timetable from the outset cannot hinder a transaction. Should one party not wish to follow the protocol there is still no reason why the other couldn’t use it for guidance.