Posted by Sarah Taylor, Senior Associate
The Law Commission has published its eagerly awaited proposals on their options for reforming the law on valuation in the acquisition of the freehold of leasehold properties and lease extensions.
The Law Commission was tasked with exploring options to reduce the cost of lease extensions and freehold purchases. This not only has legal implications but also political implications as by making the process cheaper for leaseholders, freeholders could lose out.
Legal restrictions on the amounts that landlords and agents can charge in the way of fees to their prospective tenants come into force on 1 June 2019. The changes are designed to prevent unscrupulous landlords and letting agents from charging huge sums to tenants when they are entering into a tenancy agreement. Landlords and agents can now only charge for the rent, the tenancy deposit and a holding deposit. Tenants can not be charged for referencing, checking an inventory or administrative fees.
A significant announcement had been made by Theresa May bringing about a consultation for a major shakeup on what was the more recently termed as ‘no-fault evictions’.
Today sees the brand new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 coming into effect in England, which will create even further repair obligations on residential landlords and give tenants yet more protection. This amends the existing Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requirements, and means that landlords will have to expend far more effort (and money) into maintaining properties for their tenants.
Commercial landlords have received some welcome certainty with regards to Brexit. The High Court has ruled that tenants will not be able to use Brexit as an excuse to break their lease.
This is the second blog in our series of ‘Landlord Update’.
It is difficult not to notice the changing climate of the retail sector, with shop closures and empty high streets regularly making the news headlines. The style of lease negotiations between retail tenants and landlords is changing as a result, with tenants driving harder bargains, particularly when it comes to rent.
Avid followers of Albert Square will have witnessed the tribulations of landlords behaving badly this week. Walford landlord Masood Ahmed errs in dealing properly with tenant Carmel Kazemi’s deposit on termination of her tenancy, even sabotaging her by causing damage to the carpet in an attempt to withhold the funds.
It has been a very active few years with a Valuation Officer arguing all the way to the Supreme Court that a property should not be reassessed for business rates when redevelopment works were being undertaken and preventing occupation, because the property was capable of being put back into the state of repair and occupied position at the material assessment date.
The way property boundary disputes are dealt with in law is evolving.
The Property Litigation Association (PLA) has recently published a Protocol for Disputes between Neighbours about the Location of their Boundary (“Boundary Disputes Protocol”), which is set to clarify the process where neighbours are in dispute about the location of the boundary between their properties.