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Landlord and tenant – residential

Rats – whose liability?

Is L liable if there are rats or other pests in a rented property? In practice, the answer will probably depend upon whether the property is furnished or unfurnished, and whether the rats were present at the time the tenancy started (or have entered since).

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Sub-letting – ‘family’

  A recent case provides a clear warning of the dangers of accepting a lease which restricts use to ‘a single private dwelling house in the occupation of the lessee and his family’. In essence, such a covenant will prohibit all sub-letting – including the granting of an assured shorthold.

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Tenant – liable for council tax?

In deciding who is liable for council tax, the crucial question is likely to be whether the tenancy agreement creates a lease of at least six months; if so, then T will be regarded as the ‘owner’ under s6 LGFA 1992, and thus liable to pay council tax. The CA recently looked at the situation in which a tenancy is granted for a fixed term of six months, and thereafter on a month-to-month basis (ie an initial fixed month term, followed by a periodic tenancy).

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Lease extension – intermediate L

Under LRHUDA 1993, qualifying residential Ts of long (more than 21 years) leases have a right to a 90-year lease extension. The application is made to the L who has the ability to grant the 90-year extension, and the grant of that new lease will then bind all intermediate Ls.

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Possession – s21 notice

  A reminder of the current requirements for an s21 notice served under HA 1988 to secure possession of a property let under an assured short-hold:

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Right to manage – procedure

Establish qualifying criteria:

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Alms-houses – licensees

The CA has confirmed that residents of alms-houses occupy as licensees and not as Ts.

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Service charge – surveyor’s opinion?

A clause which provides that service charge apportionments are to be determined by L’s surveyor is void (s27A(6) LTA 1985). This is so even if there is an intermediate L between the residential T and the ultimate freeholder (ie the residential Ts are entitled to challenge the apportionment of relevant costs in a headlease, notwithstanding the fact that they are not parties to that headlease).

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Consent to assign – administration charge?

Many residential leases require T to obtain L’s consent to assign. The important point to note is that L cannot charge an ‘unreasonable’ fee (eg an admin charge for work involved in processing the application).

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L’s costs – service charge

If L has incurred costs (including legal costs) in proceedings before the FTT, to what extent is it possible for L to recoup those costs through the general service charge (so that all Ts within the service charge regime pay a share of those costs)?

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