The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

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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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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