A short note on leasehold costs

The UT(LC) has published an addendum to Daejan Properties Ltd v Griffin [2014] UKUT 206 (LC) (our note here). The substantive case was about historic neglect. In outline, the leaseholders had won in the FTT and the UT overturned the decision, The UT invited written submissions on s.20C, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and, in doing so, clearly wanted to give a bit of practical guidance to the FTT/LVT.

You’ll remember that, if a lease lets a landlord recover his legal costs as a service charge, then s.20C, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 gives the court or Tribunal a discretionary power to disallow some or all of these costs … Read the full post

Costs and forfeiture

Barrett v Robinson [2014] UKUT 322 (LC) is very, very important decision on costs from the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). It came out a few weeks ago and I’ve been promising to do it since then. Sorry.

You’ll be aware that most, if not all leases, have a “forfeiture costs” clause in them – something along the lines of a covenant to pay costs incurred by the landlord in or in contemplation of forfeiture or preparation of a notice under s.146, Law of Property Act 1925, notwithstanding that forfeiture is avoided otherwise than by way of relief. For many years, this clause didn’t really trouble practitioners. Then along came Freeholders Read the full post

Simply unacceptable

Most, if not all, of the London-based readers of this blog will have experience of the “unassigned list” at Central London County Court. In short, a number of cases (today, as I understand it, at least three s.204 apppeals and a sub-letting possession appeal, but on other days multi-day trials) are listed for hearing, but no judge is available. The hope is that one of the judges (who will themselves already have full lists) will, at some stage, become free and able to hear the unassigned cases. I would wager good money that more often than not (as today) none (or very few) of the unassigned cases actually get called … Read the full post

Register your s.13 notices

The title of this post lacks much creative input, but sometimes it’s better to be clear than amusing. The recent decision in Regent Wealth Ltd and others v Wiggins [2014] EWCA Civ 1078 is a clear reminder to practitioners to register notices under s.13, Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

An introduction to enfranchisement

In general terms, long leaseholders of flats are, if there are sufficient of them in agreement, entitled to acquire the freehold of the building containing their flats. They have to appoint a “nominee purchaser” who will carry out the enfranchisement process (normally, but not necessarily, a company that the participating tenants all have a … Read the full post

Mortgage possession defences

I can distinctly remember my university lectures on mortgages. Not the content – I don’t think I ever really understood that – but the “gap” that existed (and still exists) between the popular understanding of what a mortgage is and what, in law, it amounts to. In particular, I remember being amazed that a mortgage was, in effect, a right to immediate possession of the property, regardless of whether there was any default on the part of the borrower (the right to possession arises “before the ink is dry” as it was put in various cases).

That unqualified* right to possession has come to the fore again in Thakker v Read the full post

In the garden of Eden

Lawtel had an interesting note on a permission to appeal case earlier this week – Mount Eden Land Ltd v Bolsover Investments Ltd (Ch.D, 20.6.14).

Mount Eden Land Ltd (also known as the Langham Estate) had the freehold of an office block. Bolsover Investments Ltd had the remainder of a 999 year lease (running from 1913, so, in practice, loads of time remaining). The lease did not prohibit residential use, but did contain a covenant against alterations without the consent of the landlord. By virtue of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 (s.19), that consent could not be unreasonably withheld.

Bolsover applied for consent to convert the building into 16 … Read the full post

Come friendly bombs…

Terrorism insurance is an increasingly contentious issue in service charge cases; in short, many leaseholders think it is unnecessary and simply serves to increase the their service charges (and, potentially, acts as an additional source of commission for landlords, itself a very contentious issue). Well, in Qdime Ltd v Various Leaseholders at Bath Building (Swindon) and others [2014] UKUT 261 (LC), the Upper Tribunal has given an unqualified endorsement of terrorism insurance and, in the process, may well have greatly extended the number of properties which are now required to obtain such insurance.

The case concerns a development of 13 flats in Swindon. The appellant is the freeholder and, under … Read the full post

Former landlords and s.20B LTA 1985

In Ground Rents (Regisport) Ltd v Dowlen [2014] UKUT 144 (LC), the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) had to – once again – grapple with s.20B, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. The facts are quite straightforward. Imagine, if you will, that there is a modern development of three blocks of flats. It was developed by Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd, who were also the original landlords under all the long leases. Once the leases had been created, the freehold was transferred to the appellant.

During CPLs period of ownership, there had been an agreement with Thames Water to supply, well, water, to the blocks. That agreement wasn’t assigned to the appellants but … Read the full post