The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

Sub-letting – ‘family’

  A recent case provides a clear warning of the dangers of accepting a lease which restricts use to ‘a single private dwelling house in the occupation of the lessee and his family’. In essence, such a covenant will prohibit all sub-letting – including the granting of an assured shorthold.

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Tenant – liable for council tax?

In deciding who is liable for council tax, the crucial question is likely to be whether the tenancy agreement creates a lease of at least six months; if so, then T will be regarded as the ‘owner’ under s6 LGFA 1992, and thus liable to pay council tax. The CA recently looked at the situation in which a tenancy is granted for a fixed term of six months, and thereafter on a month-to-month basis (ie an initial fixed month term, followed by a periodic tenancy).

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Lease extension – intermediate L

Under LRHUDA 1993, qualifying residential Ts of long (more than 21 years) leases have a right to a 90-year lease extension. The application is made to the L who has the ability to grant the 90-year extension, and the grant of that new lease will then bind all intermediate Ls.

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Possession – s21 notice

  A reminder of the current requirements for an s21 notice served under HA 1988 to secure possession of a property let under an assured short-hold:

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Right to manage – procedure

Establish qualifying criteria:

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Alms-houses – licensees

The CA has confirmed that residents of alms-houses occupy as licensees and not as Ts.

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Service charge – surveyor’s opinion?

A clause which provides that service charge apportionments are to be determined by L’s surveyor is void (s27A(6) LTA 1985). This is so even if there is an intermediate L between the residential T and the ultimate freeholder (ie the residential Ts are entitled to challenge the apportionment of relevant costs in a headlease, notwithstanding the fact that they are not parties to that headlease).

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Consent to assign – administration charge?

Many residential leases require T to obtain L’s consent to assign. The important point to note is that L cannot charge an ‘unreasonable’ fee (eg an admin charge for work involved in processing the application).

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L’s costs – service charge

If L has incurred costs (including legal costs) in proceedings before the FTT, to what extent is it possible for L to recoup those costs through the general service charge (so that all Ts within the service charge regime pay a share of those costs)?

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Leasehold reform – mixed-use premises

One of the perennial problems under LRA 1967 is whether mixed-use premises can be considered a ‘house’ for enfranchisement purposes. In practical terms, this will usually be in the context of a flat above a shop. Can the long lessee of the flat claim enfranchisement rights under the Act?

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