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

Indecent homes and major works charges

The DCLG has released the “Social landlords reduction of service charges: mandatory and discretionary directions 2014“, in force as of today, 12 August 2014.

The upshot of the mandatory directions is that a social landlord which undertakes “repair, maintenance or improvement” wholly or partly funded by

(a) the Decent Homes Backlog Funding provided through the 2013 Spending Round; and
(b) any other assistance for the specific purpose of carrying out works of repair, maintenance or improvement provided by—
(i) any Secretary of State; or
(ii) the Homes and Communities Agency.

is limited in the amount of service charge or major works charge it can levy on its leaseholders … 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

Historic Neglect

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Daejan Properties Ltd v Griffin & Anor [2014] UKUT 206 (LC) is not, perhaps, the most riveting of Upper Tribunal appeals on service charges, but it does have some useful statements and reminders along the way.

This concerned a 3 storey Victorian property in Barnet, with shops on the ground floor and 18 flats above it. “Access to the upper floor flats is by a walkway along which runs a parapet wall supported by concealed steel beams.  For very many years the steel beams corroded, unobserved and unrepaired, until in 2008 one of them failed and threatened to tip the parapet into Cricklewood Lane.  Emergency repairs were carried out … 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