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Landlord and tenant – residential

Mobile homes - update

There have been several developments on the law relating to mobile homes. In particular, the CA has given a restrictive interpretation to Mobile Homes Act 1983, and confirmed that it deals primarily with the owners and occupiers of caravan parks, where homes are sited on designated pitches, with a small amount of garden ground and perhaps a parking space. In particular:

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Shared ownership - social housing

An article in the NLJ suggests that shared ownership may well become the next legal battle ground in the social housing sector. By definition, shared ownership largely applies to marginal buyers, who are the ones at risk of default; as finance is tightened, so we can expect more shared owner defaults (and disputes) to emerge.

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Tenancy deposit - tenancy ended

The CA has driven a further nail into the coffin of the tenancy deposit scheme. It will be recalled that in Tiensia [2010], L had failed to protect T's deposit and so T asked the court to order L to pay the penalty under s214 HA 2004 (ie three times the amount of the deposit). However, the CA held that L had until the date of the court hearing to comply with the requirements of the tenancy deposit scheme; so, provided L paid the money into a scheme, and then gave T the prescribed information, L would have a complete defence, even at the door of the court.

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Long lease - forfeiture

A reminder of the statutory limitations on L's common law right to forfeit a long lease for non-payment of rent under Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002:

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Assured tenancy - becoming Assured Shorthold

A T with an assured tenancy has greater protection and security of tenure than a T with an assured shorthold.

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First refusal - LTA 1987

The 'right of first refusal' allows a 'qualifying T' to exercise a right of first refusal when L is disposing of all or part of the property.

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Assured shorthold - agricultural worker

Prior to 1997, one of the mandatory requirements for a valid assured shorthold tenancy was that L had served a notice in prescribed form, before the start of the tenancy, informing T that the tenancy was indeed to be an assured shorthold. Those requirements were abolished by HA 1996 for most assured shortholds, but a notice is still necessary if an assured shorthold is to be granted to an agricultural worker.

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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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Page 34 of 44

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