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Landlord and tenant – residential

Leasehold reform – ‘house’

The long lessee of a ‘house’ can apply for freehold enfranchisement under LRA 1967. But, there has long been great debate about what qualifies as a ‘house’; indeed, there have now been ten appeals in which the CA has had to consider the definition of ‘house’.

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Notice – construction

Suppose a tenancy says: ‘either party may serve any notice on the other at the address given in the particulars or such other address as has previously been notified in writing’. The address given in the particulars is T’s old address, but they have since moved and given notice to L. Which address (or addresses) can L validly serve notice on?

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Assured shorthold – six months?

There are still some people who wrongly think that an assured shorthold must be for a minimum of six months. That misconception dates back to HA 1988 which created the first assured shorthold tenancies, and required there to be a minimum term of six months.

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Right to rent – checks

Right to rent checks should be carried out on all tenants and occupiers; note that it is not good enough to simply check the first T or occupier, or to leave people off the tenancy agreement, in order to avoid these checks.

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Service charges – QLTA?

Qualifying long-term agreements are subject to the consultation requirements of s20 LTA 1985. This means that if there is a failure to consult, then there will be strict limits on the amounts that L can recover from Ts under the service charge.

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Service charge – legal costs

Two Q&As on this tricky topic: 

The freeholder of a block of flats goes to the FTT for a determination on the reasonableness of service charges. The leases say that L can recover, through the service charge, the ‘costs of… instructing… solicitors… and any other persons reasonably required in connection with the block’. Does this allow L to charge legal costs to the service charge?

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Airbnb – breach of lease

There has been much publicity about the UT decision on whether a long-lease T can do short-term holiday lets (eg Airbnb). The outcome is that, in most instances, such lettings will be in breach of lease covenants. Specifically, the covenants to watch out for are:

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Costs – First-Tier Tribunal

What is the position on the award of costs in the FTT? Previously, there was a strict £500 ceiling, with costs only being awarded if conduct was frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process. The position was changed in 2013 when the £500 cap was abolished, and costs were allowed ‘if a person has acted unreasonably in bringing, defending or conducting proceedings’ (r13).

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Admin charges – costs of proceedings

’A T of a dwelling in England may apply to the relevant court or tribunal for an order reducing or extinguishing T’s liability to pay a particular administration charge in respect of litigation costs.’

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Abandonment – new procedure

A new procedure will allow private Ls (in England) to recover possession of assured shorthold properties without a court order if T has abandoned the premises. At the moment, it is possible to recover abandoned premises but the procedures are uncertain and these new provisions will give greater clarity.

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GDPR – references
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GDPR impacts on the giving of references: Read more...

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