The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

Service charge – L’s own breach

Ls of residential premises cannot use the service charge to recover their own costs incurred as a result of their own breach of the lease.

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Section 8 – new notice

An L who wants to terminate a tenancy on one of the grounds set out in s8 HA 1988 (eg rent arrears or other breach of tenancy) has to serve notice in a prescribed form. Note that a new prescribed form was introduced on 6 April 2016; this got little advance publicity so any T served with such a notice should check that the notice is indeed in the correct form.

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How to rent – checklist

If you have a client who is planning to rent out a property for the first time then there is a useful and recommended guide on the formalities (How to Rent: checklist for renting in England – on
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Wales – new tenancies

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is not yet in force but will apply to all residential properties in Wales. Importantly, it creates two new forms of occupation contract – a standard contract (basically similar to an assured shorthold) and a secure contract. Generally, most private Ls will enter into standard contracts, while most community Ls will grant secure contracts (although there is nothing to stop a private L granting a secure contract).
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Energy improvements – L’s consent?

From April 2016, Ls of domestic properties will not be able to ‘unreasonably’ refuse consent if T wishes to carry out ‘energy efficiency improvements’.
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Defective premises – liability

The limitations of Defective Premises Act 1972 are well illustrated by two recent cases:
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Insurance – T’s liability for damage

In a short-term lease, the insurance taken out by L will normally be construed as being for the benefit of both L and T. If that is the case, then the insurers will not usually be able to sue T.

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Private Ls – licence?

 A number of LAs are quietly implementing provisions requiring private Ls to hold property licences (private rented property licences).

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Right to rent – checks

 A reminder that right to rent checks came into force on 1 February 2016. In essence, L cannot allow an adult to occupy a property under a residential tenancy unless that person is a British citizen; an EEA or Swiss national; or they have a right to rent in the UK. This applies not just to the named Ts but to any known adult occupiers (so Ls must specifically ask if there will be any other additional adult occupiers).

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Breach of repair – if T absent?

 Can T recover damages for disrepair if T is not in occupation (ie they are not there to suffer any discomfort, distress or inconvenience)?

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