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Residential Landlords Taken In by Glamorous Fraudster

Landlords should never go on appearances but should always have their prospective tenants’ credentials professionally checked. That point could hardly have been better made than by one case concerning a serial fraudster who painted herself as well-heeled and glamorous in order to talk her way into a series of tenancies. The woman used false names, including...

Service Charges – Landlord Pays Dearly for Failing to Read the Lease

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. Under the terms of the relevant...

Tribunal Untangles Litany of Drafting Errors in Housing Estate Leases

The reason why drafting leases is a job for specialist lawyers is that any ambiguity or unfortunate wording can store up trouble for the future. In one case, a litany of errors in the drafting of flat leases in respect of a housing development gave rise to not just one, but two, sets of hard-fought tribunal proceedings. The development consisted of three...

Restrictions on Use of Holiday Homes – Court of Appeal Lays Down the Law

Many thousands of holiday homes are subject to planning restrictions that forbid their occupation all the year round or as principal residences. Such rules are sometimes taken with a pinch of salt by their owners, but a Court of Appeal ruling showed that they must be taken seriously. The case concerned a number of properties that lay within a country park. They...

The Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Housing Can Be Overcome

The presumption in favour of sustainable housing development, contained within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), is a powerful one – but it does not have the force of statute and can be overcome. The Court of Appeal made that point in blocking plans for up to 150 new homes on green land adjoining a market town. The would-be developer had been...

How Much Is a Freehold Interest Worth? Court of Appeal Clarifies the Law

Where a tenant exercises its right to buy a freehold, the sum payable is calculated on the basis of the property’s open market value, subject to the existence of the tenancy. But what happens if the original tenancy has been extended for a longer period? The Court of Appeal considered that issue in an important test case. It was common ground that the tenant...