The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

Possession – disability

To what extent can T rely upon a disability discrimination argument as a defence to a possession claim?

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Enfranchisement – head lessees

Leasehold and Commonhold Reform Act 1993 gave Ts of long leases the right to enfranchise. This could either be (i) collectively (by buying the freehold) or (ii) individually (with a 90-year lease extension). Prior to 2002, it was necessary for T to have resided in the flat for more than three years, but the removal of that requirement has opened up a whole new growth industry of enfranchisement claims.

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L’s consent – guarantor?

T wanted to assign its lease, but L insisted that the purchasing company provide a personal guarantor. Because of this the purchasing company withdrew and the question then arose as to whether T could forfeit the purchaser’s deposit.

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Rent deposit – notifying T

In a recent case, L took a rent deposit and properly placed that in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. But, L did not notify T of the details of the scheme within the 14-day statutory period.

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Windows – part of structure?

A long lease of a maisonette bought under the Right to Buy legislation contained unusual provisions relating to the windows. The lease specifically included the external windows as part of the demise.

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Disrepair – fast track costs?

The CA has neatly overcome the small claims track costs hurdle that arises in many housing disrepair cases.

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Roof space – development

It is becoming increasingly common for Ls to construct new flats on the roofs of existing blocks of flats. But, it should be appreciated that the disposal of the airspace will be a disposal of an ‘appurtenance’, and that in turn means that the Ts may potentially be able to block the development by exercising their right under LTA 1987.

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Assured shorthold – s21 notice

One of the ways Ls can seek possession of an assured shorthold tenancy is by serving a notice under s21 HA 1988. If the tenancy was granted for a fixed term and that term has not expired, then an s21(1) notice is served. On the other hand, if it is a periodic tenancy because the fixed term has expired then an s21(4) notice must be served.

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Service charges – reminder

The Summary of Rights Regs came into force last year (October 2007). These require that a summary of rights and obligations must accompany any demand by L for the payment of service charge in respect of a residential property.

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Service charges – dispensation

It is well known that L must consult with residential leaseholders about (i) the nature of the proposed works; and (ii) the identity of, and likely costs to be charged by, the contractor that L intends to use.

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