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Landlord and tenant – residential

Possession – no human rights

The Supreme Court has held that the right of private residential Ls to recover possession of their properties under s21 HA 1988 is not affected by the ECHR. In the Supreme Court’s view ECHR is designed to protect citizens from having their rights infringed by the state, and not to alter private contractual rights. Thus, the court does not have to consider proportionality and whether granting possession would disproportionately interfere with T’s ‘rights to a home’ under Article 8. McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28.
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Section 21 applications – errors

A note in the SJ summarises some of the more common errors made when lodging s21 applications with the county court:

Failure to include the full address of the claimant. This cannot be a c/o address, and it cannot be that of a letting agent or managing agent. The address must be one at which the claimant resides or carries on business (even if the claimant’s address for service is the business address of the solicitor). The address should include a full postcode.

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Lettings – update

Two unrelated points to note:

Regs are likely to be introduced requiring Ls to ensure that ‘electrical safety standards’ are met throughout the tenancy. This power is contained within Housing and Planning Act 2016 but has not yet been implemented.

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Section 21 notice – validity?

There is an excellent flow-chart for checking the validity of s21 assured shorthold notices on Nearly Legal’s website. Given the complexity of the topic, it is well worth referring to. 

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Manager – appointment

If a block of flats is poorly managed, the Ts (or some of them) may think in terms of collective enfranchisement or the right to manage under CLRA 2002. But, that may be a step too far for some of the lessees, in which case the alternative is to consider the appointment of a manager under s24 LTA 1987.
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Agents – fees

Consumer Rights Act 2015 requires letting agents to publish full details of their fees and charges on both their websites and in their offices. But, it should not be forgotten that there is a separate advertising code (enforced by the Advertising Standards Agency) covering how agents advertise non-optional fees. These are the additional agency fees and other items (eg deposit) that T must pay.
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Wales – compulsory registration

Compulsory registration and licensing of all residential Ls comes into force in Wales on 23 November 2016. All Ls in Wales must register with Rent Smart Wales and either be licensed themselves, or use a licensed managing agent. Registration costs £33.50; licensing costs £144 (both are for five years).
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Prescribed information – corporate Ls

The tenancy deposit scheme requires L to serve prescribed information on T. Moreover, there has to be a ‘signed’ certificate confirming that, to the best of their knowledge and belief, the information provided is accurate. The important point here is that the certificate must besigned.
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Forfeiture – service

Because of the sums involved, and the potential windfall to L, the courts tend to be very strict when applying the rules on service to forfeiture claims:
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Leases – consumer rights

Consumer Rights Act 2015 has largely replaced the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regs 1999 (although those continue to apply to any contract entered into before October 2015).

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