Property litigation weekly update - 19 March 2021


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Members of the team have this week reported on recent regulations concerning the rights of shared ownership leaseholders, a change to the Court fee for possession claims and a reminder that electrical safety standards will apply to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. All this together with insight from our colleagues around the firm and the usual positive news.

Housing (Shared Ownership Leases) (Exclusion from Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and Rent Act 1977) (England) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/212)

These Regulations come into force on 1 April 2021. They relate to the rights to enfranchise or claim an extended lease under Part 1 of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and the security of tenure and regulation of rent under the Rent Act 1977. The effect of the Regulations is to exclude shared ownership leases from both Acts, if the lease is granted with at least a 10% initial share (being 10% of the value of the house), which is the minimum share being introduced by the government's new shared ownership policy.

Court Fees

We previously reported on a government consultation around proposed changes to court and tribunal fees and in particular the proposal to align the fees for possession claims issued in person and those issued on line through PCOL (possession claims on line). PCOL claims currently cost £325, so £30 less than in person claims. The MOJ has now published the results of the consultation and, although the majority of respondents were opposed to the proposed alignment at the higher level of fee, the government has nonetheless decided to proceed with the proposed increase. The change is anticipated to come into effect in May 2021 and generate between £9m and £25m per annum.

Electrical Safety Standard in the Private Rent Sector (England) Regulations 2020

From 1 April 2021 the Electrical Safety Standard in the Private Rent Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) will apply to all existing tenancies in England. The Regulations came into force on 1 June 2020 and currently only apply to new tenancies created on or after 1 July 2020. However from 1 April 2021 all landlords must ensure that electrical safety standards are met when the property is occupied during a tenancy and that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.

Insight

Positive news

  • A world-first arthritis treatment for dogs is being rolled out. The new biological therapy involves the synthesis of antibody molecules to eradicate the pain caused by arthritis. The antibodies have been manufactured in the USA and dogs in Scotland will be the first to benefit with eight veterinary clinics across the country distributing the treatments.
  •  Birmingham 2022: Games will be 'first' carbon-neutral event. Organisers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham say the event will be carbon-neutral for the first time. With 500 days until the event starts, plans have been unveiled to create 72 new urban forests in the West Midlands and a further 2,022 acres of woodland.
  • US researchers have developed a technique for turning food waste into jet fuel, bringing the prospect of net-zero flights a step closer. This comes as the UK government launches a competition to usher in a “new era of guilt-free flying”. Under plans announced by the Department of Transport, companies will be able to bid for a share of a £15m pot to develop “first-of-a-kind production plants” that make fuel from waste. 
 
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