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Landlord and tenant – commercial

Rent arrears – statutory demand

If T is in arrears of rent, then a common response is to serve a statutory demand. But, the service of a statutory demand does not give any guarantee of debt recovery – it is merely a preliminary step to pursuing bankruptcy or winding up proceedings. Despite that, it can be a very effective indirect method of debt recovery, because it raises the real possibility of bankruptcy or liquidation – and that will focus T’s mind.

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Assignment – loss of anchor T

A Q&A in the Estates Gazette considers the position of the L of a shopping centre which has an established retail name as an anchor T. The lease cannot be assigned without L’s consent, but such consent cannot be unreasonably withheld. Can L object if the anchor T now wants to assign to a discount store?

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Use restrictions – Competition Act?

Many small shopping parades contain use restrictions, permitting one specified retail use, with other units in the shopping parade being expressly prohibited from carrying out that use. Thus, the use covenants prevent overlapping trades within the parade of shops. Such provisions were common many years ago, but may now fall foul of Competition Act 1998 (which has applied to land since 2011).

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Multi-lets – heat regs

In the April 2015 issue (p22) we looked at the important new rules for multi-let buildings with centralised heating or cooling systems. These require L to register with the National Measurement Office, setting out the location, number and type of buildings and meters supplied by each communal heating system (plus an estimated total annual figure for installed heating capacity, heat generated and heat supplied). The deadline for registration was (unrealistically) 30 April – but that has now been put back to 31 December 2015.

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Electronic communications – code

As we noted in our March 2015 issue (p21), the draft Electronic Communications Code was withdrawn. However, a new consultation on reform of the code has

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Multi-lets – heat regs

Important new rules come into force on 30 April 2015 for multi-let buildings with centralised heating or cooling systems. These provisions apply to Ls of all buildings (commercial or residential) containing more than one T, if heating, cooling or hot water is supplied from a central plant and is charged to Ts (eg through a service charge).

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Sale of reversion – L’s ongoing liability?

We all know that if a T assigns then T will be released from liability under the lease – unless T enters into an authorised guarantee agreement (AGA). But, the situation is different for Ls – they do not benefit from an automatic release, and thus remain liable on the L covenants even if they have sold the reversion (unless and until they are expressly released).

 

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Service charges – new and old regimes

An L of a multi-let building or estate will often have leases which fall for renewal at different times. Old service charge provisions may well require updating to account for new services being provided in the modern age. Thus, L may prefer to have a more modern service charge provision in a new lease, but be unwilling to operate that if the other properties (with unexpired leases) still have the old-style service charge clauses.

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Electronic communications – Code

The draft new Electronic Communications Code has been withdrawn.

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EPC register – opt-out?

Energy performance certificates (EPCs) for non-domestic buildings can now be viewed online. If you do not want this information to be publicly available, then

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