The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

Letting agency - masquerading as membership club

A London trading standards team recently prosecuted a director of a company for setting up what was described as a member's club, but which in reality was a lettings agency. The purpose of such was to avoid tenancy legislation. The club pressured Ts into signing contracts without reading them and charged a non-refundable 'joining fee' and 'membership fee' worth a month's rent instead of a deposit.

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Form 6A - error

Form 6A is the prescribed form of notice seeking possession of a property let on an AST. The eagle-eyed solicitors at Pain Smith have noticed that the government made an unauthorised change to Form 6A which was not changes made by an SI and as such, the form could be rejected by a court.

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L&T – government guidance

The government has issued guidance for Ls and Ts on rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector. 
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‘Extra services’ – must mean extra!

T had lived in a self-contained bungalow in a sheltered housing scheme since 2008. L was a housing association and had not charged him for the cost incurred to maintain the grounds as the lease made no provision for its recovery through the service charge.
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Intentionally homeless – objective test

The SC considered the case of a T who occupied a property under an AST but fell into arrears and was evicted. T applied to the LA claiming homelessness and seeking assistance. 
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Section 21 notice – amended form introduced

Under Housing Act 1988 an s21 notice gives L an automatic right of possession without having to give any grounds once the fixed term has expired. The notice cannot be used to gain possession during the fixed term but it can be served during this time provided the date requiring possession is not before the end of the fixed term. Any deposit paid by T must be protected under the tenancy deposit scheme. We reported in our May 2019 edition (p26) that the government has proposed abolishing s21 notices to end no fault eviction of Ts, but as yet this has not been introduced.

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Prescribed information – serve again if in doubt

At the beginning of a residential tenancy and when in receipt of a tenancy deposit, L has 30 days to give T various information including: the amount of the deposit, how it is protected and the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme (DPS) – this is known as the prescribed information.

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T’s failure to respond – not a refusal of access

The UT has held that T’s failure to reply to a letter from L requesting access to the property did not amount to a refusal of access.

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Right to rent checks – unlawful

Since 1 February 2016, Ls (or their agents) have been required to check identification to establish the immigration status of all prospective adult Ts before the start of a tenancy.

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Fitness for habitation – update

We reported in our March 2019 edition (p28) on the introduction of the Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018 which came into force on 20 March 2019.

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