Industry comment, updates and news from the Websters team.

This is the self-regulation society

Monday, December 8th, 2014 in Commercial, Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Residential

Lynn James of dwf has highlighted a report in Estates Gazette about the fact that the leasehold management sector is currently unregulated. This has led to inconsistencies in the way in which leasehold schemes are managed. ARMA previously lobbied Government for many years for a statutory regulatory scheme and, although this was considered by the Labour administration, the coalition Government decided in 2010 not to proceed with the proposals. In response to this the ARMA-Q regime has been formulated.

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Landlord Has Limited Liability for Nuisance of Tenant

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 in Commercial, Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Residential

Kerman & Co has reported that when a tenant causes a nuisance to other tenants or to people nearby, the tenant is obviously the person responsible for the nuisance. However, can the landlord also be held liable since the landlord allowed the tenant to be in the position to create a nuisance in the first place? That was the question before the Supreme Court….

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Lender/landlord guidance on dealing with borrower’s/tenant’s goods

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 in Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Residential

Milton McIntosh from Excello Law reports that, in the recent case of Campbell v Redstone Mortgages [2014], concerned a long-running residential mortgage possession claim, the High Court has provided useful clarification on how goods left in a property by an evicted borrower or tenant are to be dealt with by a lender or landlord after they recover possession.

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Minimum energy efficiency standards

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 in Commercial, Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Residential

An article Penningtons Manches looks at the ‘non domestic’/commercial proposed consultation on the regulations for minimum energy performance (now called minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES)) Properties with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of F or G will be unlettable until works improving the property’s energy efficiency are carried out.

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The New RICS Service Charge Code Has Been Unleashed

Monday, August 25th, 2014 in Commercial, Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Service Charge

Deloittes has questioned whether the modifications relating to environmental sustainability in the recent (3rd) edition of the Service Charge Code will help to drive change? Whilst there have not been any fundamental changes, some additional guidance has been provided specifically around green leases, Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC), improving environmental performance and Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s). I would argue that the updates can only be regarded as a good thing for commercial property.

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Potential VAT savings for landlords

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 in Commercial, Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Residential

HM Revenue & Customs has finally confirmed that the surrender of a lease subject to tenancies can constitute a “transfer of a going concern” with the result that no VAT is payable. This will result in stamp duty land tax(SDLT) savings for landlords accepting surrenders and in certain cases it will be possible to reclaim SDLT that has been overpaid on historic surrenders.

Earlier structural repair would not contribute to reduced service charge

Friday, July 25th, 2014 in Commercial, Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Residential, Service Charge

Phil Taylor has highlighted an interesting recent service charge question arising in the case of Daejan Properties Ltd v Griffin & Anor. If a property suffers a structural failure, due to lack of  repair, can tenants claim that reduced service charges should only be paid on the assumption that the repairs had been carried out?

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Residential lettings – you can’t charge “administration fees” to the tenant

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 in Landlord, Managing Agent, News, Residential

Morton Fraser has noted that the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, says that any person who, as a condition of the grant, renewal or continuance of a protected tenancy, requires the payment of any “premium” is guilty of an offence. However letting agents still sometimes ask for payments from tenants on top of any rental that is due in terms of the tenancy. In the recent case of Cross -v- Aberdeen Property Leasing the letting company had imposed an administration fee on the tenants of £125 simply for the entering into of the tenancy agreement.  The tenants paid this fee initially (presumably because they thought they no choice) but subsequently took court action to recover it. The court confirmed that the administration fee was a prohibited payment.

Tenant mix covenant breaches competition law

Friday, June 27th, 2014 in Commercial, Landlord, News

Travers Smith has reported that Martin Retail Group Ltd v Crawley Borough Council is the first case in which the Courts have applied competition law principles to tenant mix policies. The Court decided that restricting the use of a shop to a newsagent and for the sale of books, toys, CDs, fancy goods and greeting cards made it part of a “letting scheme” which prevented the tenants on a shopping parade from competing with each other, and was unlawful.

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