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Landlord and tenant – residential

HMO – Regs

The definition of what comprises an HMO is complex (see the April 2012 issue, p25). But, what are the consequences of a property being a house in multiple occupation?

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HMO - definition

There are two definitions of a house in multiple occupation. Those definitions are in s254 and s257 HA 2004, and they are dauntingly complex. However, Painsmith's excellent L&T blog explains these definitions by reference to three commonplace scenarios:

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Possession order - set aside

What is the test when T applies to set aside a possession order made in its absence? There are two different approaches:

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Service charge - legal costs

A well-drafted lease will have a clause entitling L to recover its legal costs through the service charge.

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Consent to underlet - L's fee?

Can L charge for granting consent to an underletting?

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Service charges - when 'incurred'?

One of the pitfalls for Ls in the service charge provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is the 18-month rule. Under s20B service charges will be irrecoverable if L does not demand payment (or at least warn T that payment will be required) within 18 months of the service charge costs being 'incurred'.

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Lease - uncertain term

For there to be a tenancy, there must be a term certain. In a periodic tenancy, this rule is satisfied by each side having the right to terminate at the end of any period. Thus, a letting agreement which ran 'from month to month until determined as provided in this agreement' gave a right to terminate by T on one month's notice, but there was no corresponding right for L to terminate (unless T was in breach). Thus, what was created was an uncertain term - and one that could not be a valid tenancy.

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Section 21 - notice

There are two types of s21 notice that L can serve on T:

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Lease - uncertain term

The Supreme Court has given an important, if somewhat confusing, judgment about the effect of granting a lease with an uncertain term.

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Tenancy deposits - reform

The deficiencies of the tenancy deposit provisions in HA 2004 were exposed by Tiensia [2010] and Gladehurst [2011]. In essence, those cases showed that the time limits imposed for Ls to protect deposits could largely be ignored (L would not be penalised even if it only paid in the money at the door of the court). Moreover, legislation could not be enforced if the tenancy agreement had already ended. Now, however, change is on the way with both those decisions being reversed.

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