The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

Possession - HRA/public law

Two Supreme Court decisions have significantly complicated the legal landscape for social Ls who seek possession:

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Water - liability

As from October 2011, there will be an obligation on Ls to provide water companies with T's contact details. The hope is that this will reduce the problem of Ts leaving premises with unpaid water bills and without having left forwarding addresses. Should L fail to comply with the new requirement then L will become jointly and severally liable for the water bill.

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Tenancy - abandonment

What should L do if T disappears and seems to have vacated the premises?

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LVT - cost traps

In general, a successful party cannot recover costs from the other side in the LVT (despite the fact that many cases involve a huge amount of work with numerous witness statements, and complex issues of law to consider).

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Possession - Article 8

The Supreme Court has confirmed that, as general rule, Article 8 only needs to be considered if it is raised by a defendant in possession proceedings and, if it is raised, a court need only consider the issue summarily.
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Possession - non-attendance

If T does not attend a possession hearing, can he then apply to have the possession order set aside?
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Enfranchisement - 'common part'

Ts will be encouraged by a recent CA decision where it was decided that a caretaker's flat was a 'common part', and thus could be acquired by a nominee purchaser under a collective enfranchisement claim.
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Enfranchisement - part of roof

L had granted a 999-year lease on a roof surface and the airspace above, together with the right to construct flats on the roof. The T's nominee purchaser did not want all of that, but only those parts of the roof that were required for the maintenance of the rest of the building.
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HMOs - licence

An HMO is a dwelling house used by three or more unrelated people who share basic amenities (eg bathroom and kitchen). They are typically three stories high.
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Service charges – failure to consult

The service charge provisions in LTA 1985 require L to consult with T if the costs to be incurred will result in any T contributing more than £250. Under the Consultation Regs, L has to serve a notice on T, setting out at least two of the estimates he has received, and then make all of the estimates available for inspection. L then has to invite observations on those estimates within 30 days. 

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