The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

Bankruptcy - order for possession

Once a person is made bankrupt, no 'remedy' in respect of that debt can be made against the bankrupt's property other than under the provisions of IA 1986. Several residential Ts have argued that if L is seeking possession on the ground of rent arrears, then that will be in breach of IA 1986 (as being a 'remedy in respect of the debt'). However, the CA has dismissed such arguments, despite the fact that the rent arrears will be provable in the bankruptcy proceedings.

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Possession - rent

There are three grounds for possession in HA 1988 based on 'rent'. Two are discretionary, and one is mandatory:

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Service charges -lease provisions

It is well known that statutory provisions on residential service charges (LTA 1985) are a minefield. But, at the same time it is important for L to remember not to focus on those statutory provisions -L must also comply with all the service charge provisions in the lease. For instance:

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Houseboat -dwelling?

Can a houseboat be a 'dwelling' (and so have the protection of an assured tenancy)?

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Council tax -L's liability

L has the primary liability for council tax on rented property, if it is a House in Multiple Occupation. Note, however, that the definition of HMO for council tax purposes is different than that under the Housing Acts. For council tax it will be an HMO if either:

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Long lease -80 years

Many lenders are becoming more weary of taking mortgages on leases of less than 80 years. Because of this, conveyancers need to make sure that buyers are advised on the potential sell-on problems when purchasing a lease that is only slightly more than 80 years.

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Long lease -external items?

The problem of installing external equipment is sometimes overlooked in residential leases.

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Service charge -statutory protection

A reminder that the service charge provisions in LTA 1985 are strictly enforced. Two recent cases illustrate this:

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Rentcharges - redemption

A rentcharge is a sum of money (payable annually or bi-annually) usually payable in respect of freehold land (although you can also have rentcharges on leasehold land). No new rentcharges have been created since Rentcharges Act 1977, which says that all rentcharges will expire 60 years after the commencement of that Act.

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Service charges - consultation

A reminder of the basic rules on consultation of Ts under LTA 1985.

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