When it comes to issuing service charge demands, landlords must stick to the letter of leases or risk recovering nothing at all – even if that results in tenants receiving an unwarranted windfall.Read More
In a decision of great importance to landlords of student accommodation, a tribunal has found that bedsits with communal facilities are not separate dwellings. The ruling meant that the tribunal had no power to consider an attempt by a group of students to have their service charges fixed by law.Read More
The law is replete with cases in which two parties to an agreement differ in their interpretations of what they had agreed. Such disagreements can have profound implications for landlords as there are many legal rights attaching to the occupation of property.Read More
The law protects tenants against mistreatment and landlords who ignore their tenants’ rights are courting disaster.Read More
It is a common misapprehension that there is little practical difference between long leasehold and freehold interests in land. In one case that proved how wrong that is, an elderly widow who ran a bed and breakfast business from her £2.8 million flat in breach of her lease was given six months to leave her home of 40 years.Read More
In an important decision for owners of student accommodation or houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), the Court of Appeal has ruled that a licensing condition that restricted occupation of two small attic bedrooms to full-time students was lawful.Read More
In a ruling that will be required reading for landlords and tenants, the Court of Appeal has given authoritative guidance on the distinction between ‘repairs’ and ‘optional improvements’. The decision means that tenants’ views will in future be far more influential when it comes to paying for the costs of the latter.Read More
Residential leases usually contain detailed procedures that must be followed before valid demands for service charges can be raised. Some landlords sidestep such requirements for reasons of convenience, but an Upper Tribunal (UT) decision has underlined the hazards inherent in such a course.Read More
Almshouses have for centuries offered sanctuary to the poor and vulnerable but the legal status of those who occupy them has always been in doubt – until now. In opening the way for a woman’s eviction from an almshouse, the Court of Appeal conclusively found that she was a licensee, not a tenant.Read More
n a decision that will be required reading for property landlords, the Court of Appeal has confirmed the validity of a form of assured shorthold tenancy that has been in common use for many years. At the same time, the Court defined the concept of ‘ownership’ in the context of Council Tax liabilities.Read More
The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has held that a tenant breached a covenant in their long lease of a flat that prohibited use of the flat for any purpose whatsoever other than as a private residence. The tenant had advertised the flat on the internet for short-term lettings and granted a series of such lettings.Read More
In a landmark ruling on 15 June 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that an Article 8 defence is not available to tenants to defend possession claims under assured shorthold tenancies.Read More
Leases are not just pieces of paper and wise tenants always seek legal advice so that they really understand what they are signing up to. In one case which strikingly made that point, a long leaseholder ended up in danger of losing his property after his installation of a new boiler involved cutting through an exterior wall.Read More
n a ruling of importance for landlords of student accommodation, a tribunal upheld as lawful a licensing condition which required that an under-sized attic bedroom in a house in multiple occupation (HMO) must only be slept in by someone in full-time education.(Nottingham City Council v Parr)Read More
With effect from 1 February 2016, landlords entering into residential leases, having new lodgers or allowing anyone to occupy a property they own for residential purposes are required to undertake checks to ensure the tenant and any other adults who will be living there have the right to reside in the UK.The rules have applied in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton since 1 December 2014.
British citizens, citizens of the European Economic Area and Swiss nationals have an automatic right to rent, as do those granted indefinite right to remain in the UK.
The four steps necessary to establish the right to rent and prove compliance are:
1. Identifying the adults who will live in the property as their only or main home;
2. Obtaining original versions of one or more of the acceptable documents for adult occupiers;
3. Checking the documents in the presence of the holder of the documents; and
4. Making copies of the documents and retaining them with a record of the date on which the check was made. This copy must be retained for at least one year after the date of the check.
The relevant regulations are contained in Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, and the Government has published guidance which shows a list of acceptable documents which can be used as evidence of the right to rent.
There are also regulations which apply in respect of tenancies which commenced prior to 1 February 2016, and numerous exemptions, such as student halls of residence and residence rights in hostels and refuges operated by social landlords.Read More
Selective licensing schemes in respect of private rented homes are an increasingly popular means of tackling crime and anti-social behaviour and one High Court case has underlined their legal and financial significance for residential landlordsRead More
The government has announced that as from 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check that any new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property (right to rent).Read More
Managing residential property is a legally complex task and is not for amateurs. In one case which proved the point, benevolent landlords found themselves having to take court action after dispensing with formalities in order to save their tenants money.Read More