The Court of Appeal decision in Trecarrell House v Rouncefield handed down on 18 June 2020 has found that a failure to provide a gas safety certificate before the commencement of the tenancy does not invalidate a s21 Notice so long as the certificate was given to the tenant at any time before the s21 Notice was served.
The construction sector is fundamentally important to the UK economy. Often cited as the barometer of economic conditions, it contributes around £90bn and provides approximately 10% of total UK employment. In recent months, the sector has found itself subject to a somewhat surprising level of media scrutiny. Initially, there was a focus on the construction of new hospitals, vaccine centres and other structures dedicated to fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 5 June 2020 the housing minister, Robert Jenrick, announced a 2 month extension to the current moratorium on residential possession claims and evictions to run from the expiry of the current moratorium until 23 August 2020. The extension will apply to both private sector and public sector landlords. In order to implement this extension changes will be made to the Civil Procedure Rules – which sets down the rules by which Courts operate.
The recent case of Dreams Limited -v- Pavilion Property Trustees Limited (May 2020) provides important lessons for landlords and tenants who have agreed a surrender of a lease. The principal issue in the case was whether, the tenant having agreed the surrender would be with vacant possession (VP), the landlord could refuse to accept the surrender unless and until VP had been given.
A hotel management agreement (HMA) is the core document governing the relationship between hotel owners and operators/managers. In a subsector of the commercial real estate industry particularly hard hit by COVID-19 disruptions, this relationship is being tested in unique ways.
There has been some good news for retailers at last in these challenging trading conditions following the long awaited decision by the Supreme Court in the Cardtronics' case. Following on from the Court of Appeal decision which ruled that ATMs in supermarkets, shops and petrol stations are not separately rateable a decision which was reported to see retailers able to claim business rates rebates of an estimated £300 million the Supreme Court has now dismissed the appeal from the VOA against that earlier decision.
The recent announcement of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to extend the consultation period for assessing the reform of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) until this summer in view of COVID-19 will give businesses more time to respond on this important issue. Whilst many of the articles about the proposal to align RPI with the Consumer Prices Index plus Housing Costs (CPIH) methodology will focus on the effect it will have on bonds and pension schemes, landlords and tenants will need to be aware of the implications for commercial leases. It has been accepted that RPI will go (or be brought in line with CPIH) from 2030, but the Chancellor has given a clear signal that he is thinking about bringing that date forward to 2025. This makes it relevant for many new leases being agreed now or already in place.
At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown we provided clients with the ability to e-sign documents that do not need to be registered at the Land Registry because Womble Bond Dickinson is fully licenced to use DocuSign, a market leading e-signature platform. As an early adopter of e-signatures in the legal sector, using this technology to sign contracts and other documents was an easy step for us to take to help our clients continue with their transactions.