Residential leases

Long Residential Leases Can Be Forfeited

Authored on April 27th, 2017

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.

Property Disrepair and Landlords’ Liabilities – Supreme Court Ruling

Authored on July 26th, 2016

In a decision of importance to landlords and tenants, the Supreme Court has ruled that property owners cannot be held liable for the consequences of disrepair of which they have not been notified.

The case concerned an accident in which the sub tenant of a flat was injured when he tripped over an uneven paving stone on the pathway leading up to the front door of the block where the flat was located. The sub tenancy conferred on him a right to use common parts of the block and he launched a compensation claim against the long leaseholder of the flat.

No Article 8 Defence for Assured Shorthold Tenants

Authored on June 19th, 2016

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.

Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to respect for his home. There has been some doubt as to whether tenants can use Article 8 to defend claims for possession made under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

HMO Licence Condition for Under-Sized Attic Room

Authored on April 19th, 2016

In 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.

Cautionary Tale for Tenants: Understanding Your Lease

Authored on April 19th, 2016

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.

Landlord’s Liability under Defective Premises Act

Authored on April 19th, 2016

In an important decision, the High Court has ruled that the duties owed by landlords under the Defective Premises Act 1972 are not endless and that any liability in respect of accidental injury suffered by tenants is dependent on proof of fault.

Windmill Flats Development Triggers Tenancy Dispute

Authored on March 24th, 2016

Homes come in all shapes and sizes and, in one unusual case, a suspected error made when drawing up plans of a windmill after it was converted into flats became a source of conflict between a tenant and his landlord more than 20 years later.

The tenant occupied the top four stories of the windmill under a 999-year lease which was signed in 1993. A corridor, which measured about three metres square, was the only means of access to his spare bedroom. However, it did not appear to be included as part of his property in plans attached to his lease.

Cottage Tenant Sees Off Insurance Claim

Authored on March 24th, 2016

Anyone who rents their home can breathe a sigh of relief after a tenant whose weekend cottage suffered severe flooding damage during a cold snap saw off a £128,000 demand from insurers. The High Court found that the woman was covered by her landlady’s insurance policy, having contributed to premiums through her rent.

New Lease, New Compliance Burden

Authored on February 12th, 2016

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.

Residential Landlords - Legal Formalities Matter

Authored on November 26th, 2015

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.


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