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Landlord and tenant – residential

Energy efficiency – MEES

The MEES Regs are now in force (from 1 April 2018). Accordingly, it is now unlawful for an L in the private rented sector to grant a new domestic tenancy, or renew an existing one, if the property does not have an EPC of E (or better).

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MEES – buy-to-let

Buy-to-let investors should be aware that lenders may be unwilling to provide finance for the purchase of a non-compliant property (or may require that works be done to bring the property up to standard).

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MEES – assured shortholds

The MEES Regs will apply to the grant of any new assured shorthold. But, what about existing assured shortholds?

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MEES – long leases

Thre is no reason, in principle, why a long lease should not come within the scope of MEES.

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Surrender – by law

A ‘surrender by law’ occurs when L or T carries out actions that are only compatible with a surrender (ie the ending) of the tenancy. Thus, it is the actions of the parties that count – not their intentions. If there is an act which is inconsistent with the continuation of the tenancy, so there is an unequivocal acceptance that the tenancy has ended, then that will be a surrender by law (even if that was not the intention).

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Periodic tenancy – new tenancy?

Suppose you have a monthly oral tenancy. At the end of each month, that periodic tenancy automatically continues. But, what is happening from a legal point of view: is it (i) a new tenancy that is granted every month, or (ii) the original tenancy remains in place but with a series of extensions?

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Enforcement – trespassers

Possession orders are generally obtained in the county court and enforced by a county court bailiff. But it is a common cause of frustration that L may have waited several months from issuing a claim to obtaining a possession order, and then face delays of up to 12 weeks for a bailiff appointment. In those circumstances, Ls often seek advice about using a High Court enforcement officer (HCEO). They market themselves as being faster and more effective, although they are more expensive (between £400–£900, compared with £120 for a bailiff). But, there are different procedures for using HCEOs, depending whether the possession claim is against a (i) trespasser, or (i) non-trespasser. In this note, we look at the position as regards trespassers.

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Enforcement – non-trespassers

If the possession action is against a non-trespasser (unless it involves a mortgage possession claim), the claimant who wants to use a High Court enforcement officer must make two court applications. Firstly, there must be an application to the county court for an order transferring up to the High Court (s42 CCA 1984), and secondly an application in the High Court for permission to issue a writ of possession (under CPR 83.13(2)).

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Long lease – forfeiture

There are severe constraints on L’s ability to forfeit a residential long lease for non-payment of rent. In particular, s166 and s167 of Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 apply. Under s166, T is only liable to pay rent if it is demanded in a prescribed form (and accompanied by prescribed notes explaining the effect of s167). In turn, s167 says there can be no forfeiture unless the rent arrears exceed £350, or an amount of rent has been outstanding for more than three years.

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Service charges – 18-month time limit

Section 20B(1) LTA 1985 imposes an important time limit for L in making a service charge demand: there is an 18-month time limit from the date when the costs are ‘incurred’ (unless T was notified in writing that costs had been incurred and that they would subsequently form part of a service charge). But, the key point is that there will normally be an 18-month time period from when the costs were ‘incurred’ – failing which the costs will be irrecoverable from T.

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