The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – residential

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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RTM co – articles

If you are acting on the formation of a right to manage company (ie collective enfranchisement under CLRA 2002) then ensure the articles define the ‘premises’ correctly. 

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Right to rent – checks

 The right to rent provisions came into force (in England) on 1 February 2016. Ls (and their agents) will have to check the status of prospective Ts, and other authorised occupiers, to ensure that those parties have the right to be in the UK.

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Buy-to-let – T’s liability

The CA has extended the liability of an L who rents out a flat in a block, but who is not the freeholder or head lessor. That liability can extend to the common parts even though they are not controlled by L. 

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