By James Macdonald, Senior Conveyancer at TMT Legal Services LLP
Times have been hard for owners of flats of late. The confusion surrounding the recent Building Safety Act, and continued lender pressure in relation to ground rents, has complicated sales. However, some positive news is on the horizon.
The Renters Reform Bill is currently going through the early stages of Parliament. It’s predominantly concerned with improving Tenants’ rights under assured tenancies, particularly in abolishing “no fault” Section 21 evictions.
A less-publicised part of it seeks to deal with the current issue of long Leases potentially being treated as assured tenancies for the purpose of a Landlord seeking possession for non-payment of ground rent under Ground 8 (of Schedule 2, Part 1) of the Housing Act 1988.
Clause 21 of the Renters Reform Bill would appear to be looking to introduce additional wording to the Housing Act 1988 to exclude fixed term tenancies over 7 years, i.e. registrable “long” Leases, from being assured tenancies under the Act. The practical effect of this looks to be that a Landlord of a typical long Lease would no longer be able to use Ground 8 as a means for possession of the property for non-payment of ground rent (with a reminder that the Court is mandated to grant an Order for Possession, without relief, in such circumstances).
This could potentially be very welcome news for leaseholders indeed.
The Bill is still at a very early stage, having only had its first reading in the Commons, and so will potentially take some time yet to receive Royal Assent, assuming it even gets that far.
It’ll be interesting to see whether lenders, and therefore conveyancers, relax their requirements in anticipation of the Bill becoming law.
James Macdonald is a specialist Conveyancer at TMT Legal Services specialising in Land Development, Commercial and Residential Property. To find out more and to see how TMT can help you, contact James on 0333 188 4758.