The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

Consultation – qualifying long-term agreements

A qualifying long-term agreement is where a third party (eg a managing agent or maintenance contractor) agrees to provide services to a building for more than 12 months. If the annual cost to any individual T is more than £100, then L must follow a strict two-stage consultation (similar to the one for qualifying works, and possibly give a third notice of ‘reasons for appointment’).

L must serve a notice on the Ts and secretary of any RTA, describing in general terms the nature of the goods or services and any qualifying works to be provided under the agreement, and stating why they are necessary. Any T, or RTA, has a right to nominate contractors, from which Ls should try to seek estimates, and also has a right to make observations within a period of 30 days from the date of the notice. L must have ‘regard’ to those observations.

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Consultation – qualifying works

L must consult residential Ts when carrying out ‘qualifying works’ (works of repair, maintenance or improvement which will require any T to pay more than £250). There is a compulsory two-stage consultation procedure, and L may possibly have to serve a third notice of ‘reasons for appointment’.

L must serve notice on the Ts (and on any recognised tenants association (RTA)). The notice must describe the proposed works in general terms (or specify a place in time where a description can be inspected); state why L considers it necessary to carry out the works; invite written observations and provide an address and timescale for a receipt; and invite the nomination of parties through whom L should try to obtain estimates).

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HMO – students

The rules on Houses in Multiple Occupation are now more complex than they were a few years ago; firstly, a licensing regime was introduced in 2004, and secondly, planning restrictions were introduced in 2010. The end result is that a group of students may well end up forming an HMO. Accordingly, a note in PLC looks at the hypothetical situation of a client who wants to buy a three-bedroom house to be used by their son whilst he is at university; the spare bedrooms and the dining room will be let to three of the son’s friends who will pay rent to the parents. The four students will live as one household sharing means, as well as outgoings. They will probably go home during the holidays and for occasional weekends. Will this fall foul of the HMO rules?

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Service charge – management company

Yet another illustration of the importance of consulting with all Ts under the service charge legislation.

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Long lease – improvements

L had a long lease of a flat (£195 pa) which expired in 2003. In about 1990, she carried out extensive improvements (with L’s consent).

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Service charge – holiday chalet

Holiday chalets cannot be occupied on a permanent basis (typically, they can be occupied for 11 months of each year). But, are chalets ‘dwellings’, and so within the scope of service charge protection under LTA 1985?

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Assured shortholds – tenancy deposit

The maximum rent threshold for HA 1988 tenancies increases to £100,000 on 1 October (it is currently £25,000). See our May 2010 issue (p24) for some of the problems this creates.

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Repossession – mortgagee

Prior to the dissolution of parliament, the Mortgage Repossessions (Protection of Tenants) Act 2010 was pushed through. What the Act does is to give protection to Ts who find themselves being evicted by L’s mortgagee (when L has failed to get proper consent for the let).

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Multiple Occupation – planning

Since April 2006, certain types of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have had to be licensed by LAs (under HA 2004). These include properties that are let to three or more Ts, who form two or more households. Note, however, that there are now planning issues to be considered – and some Ls who may have already incurred costs in converting their properties to meet HMO licensing standards, may now find that they cannot obtain planning permission if they live in an area with a high concentration of HMOs.

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Sale of reversion – notice to Ts

When selling the freehold (or long leasehold) interest in a property subject to short residential tenancies, the T’s right of pre-emption under LTA 1987 must be considered. In particular, notices may have to be served on ‘qualifying Ts’.

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Page 38 of 44

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