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Landlord and tenant – residential

Collective enfranchisement – intention?

Two flat owners bought the freehold via collective enfranchisement. They signed a declaration of trust to hold the freehold in trust as tenants in common in equal shares. Subsequently, one of them refused the other’s request to agree to a 999-year lease extension.

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Right to manage – e-mail claim

A right to manage company must serve its claim on L, and also each qualifying T. As an example of yet another technical objection that could be raised, an L recently argued that the RTM notice was invalid because it had been served by e-mail on the qualifying Ts (rather than by service of an original notice).

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Leasehold reform – ‘house’

The long lessee of a ‘house’ can apply for freehold enfranchisement under LRA 1967. But, there has long been great debate about what qualifies as a ‘house’; indeed, there have now been ten appeals in which the CA has had to consider the definition of ‘house’.

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Notice – construction

Suppose a tenancy says: ‘either party may serve any notice on the other at the address given in the particulars or such other address as has previously been notified in writing’. The address given in the particulars is T’s old address, but they have since moved and given notice to L. Which address (or addresses) can L validly serve notice on?

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Assured shorthold – six months?

There are still some people who wrongly think that an assured shorthold must be for a minimum of six months. That misconception dates back to HA 1988 which created the first assured shorthold tenancies, and required there to be a minimum term of six months.

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Right to rent – checks

Right to rent checks should be carried out on all tenants and occupiers; note that it is not good enough to simply check the first T or occupier, or to leave people off the tenancy agreement, in order to avoid these checks.

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Service charges – QLTA?

Qualifying long-term agreements are subject to the consultation requirements of s20 LTA 1985. This means that if there is a failure to consult, then there will be strict limits on the amounts that L can recover from Ts under the service charge.

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Service charge – legal costs

Two Q&As on this tricky topic: 

The freeholder of a block of flats goes to the FTT for a determination on the reasonableness of service charges. The leases say that L can recover, through the service charge, the ‘costs of… instructing… solicitors… and any other persons reasonably required in connection with the block’. Does this allow L to charge legal costs to the service charge?

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Airbnb – breach of lease

There has been much publicity about the UT decision on whether a long-lease T can do short-term holiday lets (eg Airbnb). The outcome is that, in most instances, such lettings will be in breach of lease covenants. Specifically, the covenants to watch out for are:

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Costs – First-Tier Tribunal

What is the position on the award of costs in the FTT? Previously, there was a strict £500 ceiling, with costs only being awarded if conduct was frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process. The position was changed in 2013 when the £500 cap was abolished, and costs were allowed ‘if a person has acted unreasonably in bringing, defending or conducting proceedings’ (r13).

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