The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

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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Suspended possession – tolerated trespasser?

A public sector residential T will have a secure tenancy (under HA 1985). However, if T is in breach and the court makes a suspended possession order then that will automatically bring the secure tenancy to an end (even if T fully complies with the suspended possession order and pays off all arrears).

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Collective enfranchisement – hope value

When valuing L’s interest on an enfranchisement, the assumption is that the market value of the unencumbered freehold is likely to exceed the combined value of T’s and L’s separate interests.

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Tenancy deposit – sanctions

The tenancy deposit provisions are contained within ss212-215 HA 2004. The key requirement, of course, is that L must place any deposit into an authorised deposit holding scheme and then serve written notice on T within 14 days confirming this has been done.

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Sevice charge – shareholder contribution?

If the Ts are shareholders, then a residential management company can avoid LTA 1985 (which gives Ts the right to challenge the reasonableness of service charges).

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SDLT – collective enfranchisement

Ts with long leases (over 21 years) have a collective right to buy the freehold under Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. FA 2003 introduced a relief from SDLT when there is collective enfranchisement.

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Deposit protection – non-compliance

Since 2007, all deposits for rent of more than £25,000pa for assured shorthold tenancies must be protected by the money being placed in a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

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Service charges – consultation

The service charge consultation provisions in Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 require L to consult with long lessees before carrying out works above a certain value (£250 per T), or entering into long-term agreements for the provision of services.

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Enfranchisement – ‘house’

Enfranchisement under LRA 1967 is available when T has a lease of a ‘house’ (ie ‘any building designed or adapted for living in and reasonably so-called’). Note that this is a two-fold test: (i) the building must be ‘designed or adapted for living in’, and (ii) is it ‘reasonably so called’ a ‘house’?

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