Landlord and Tenant

Tenant fails in asbestos claim

Authored on September 14th, 2017

Decades after the dangers of asbestos were first recognised, the substance has still not been eradicated from some buildings constructed in the 1960s or earlier. A High Court case that should be required reading for residential landlords underlined that the risk of asbestos exposure remains a ticking time bomb even today.

18 Month Rule Applies to Service Charges Demanded on Account

Authored on August 21st, 2017

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. The Court of Appeal made that point in relieving a residential tenant of liability to pay service charges over a four-year period.

Student Bedsits Are Not 'Separate Dwellings'

Authored on August 21st, 2017

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.

Property damage – on what basis should compensation be calculated

Authored on July 16th, 2017

Where works carried out on one property damage another, should compensation be payable on the basis of reinstatement costs or diminution in value? The High Court tackled that issue recently.

The owner of a house had obtained an award under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 that authorised a building project, including excavation works. The award required the owner to make good any decorative or structural damage caused to a neighbouring property, a block of flats, or to make payment in lieu.

Material Non-Disclosure Stymies Landlord’s Fire Insurance Claim 

Authored on June 26th, 2017

Insurance policies of any type are not worth the paper they are written on if you fail to make full and frank disclosure of all facts that might affect the risk that you wish to guard against. A property landlord found that out to his cost after neglecting to tell insurers that he was facing trial on an assault charge.

Annoyed with a tenant? Don’t take the law into your own hands

Authored on May 26th, 2017

The law protects tenants against mistreatment and landlords who ignore their tenants’ rights are courting disaster. In one case that strikingly proved the point, a landlord who unlawfully entered his tenant’s bedsit and threw out his possessions ended up being sued for more than £900,000 in compensation.

Small Attic Bedrooms Big Enough for Students Court of Appeal Rules

Authored on April 27th, 2017

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.

Landlords – Sidestep Correct Service Charge Procedures at Your Peril

Authored on March 27th, 2017

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.

Landlord Fails to Recover Cost of Improvement Works

Authored on March 27th, 2017

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.

Almshouse Residents Are Licensees, Not Tenants

Authored on January 26th, 2017

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.

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