Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Peace on Home Front

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Peace on Home Front

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ranald Harris

Ranald Harris at property agent Knight Frank looks at the topical issue of lease renewals and the effects of the procedural changes made last year.

When the procedural changes to the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 were being mooted, concerns were expressed from all angles.

The 1954 Act had survived 50 years; it had stood the test of time and so many held the view that there was no need to change it. After all, everyone knew how it worked.

It was therefore with some trepidation that the Regulatory Reform (Business Tenancies) Order 2003 came into force on June 1, 2004, and property owners, occupiers and property professionals and advisers were being asked to go into unfamiliar territory.

The new reforms have been in place for about 20 months now and surveyors and solicitors alike have now come to terms with the new regime.

The reality is that the reforms have taken away many of the opportunities that landlords in particular had to try to trip up the tenant in order to strengthen their negotiating position.

The new procedures have removed these traps and the parties now have to reveal their proposed terms far earlier in the process.

This has proved helpful and it has helped go some way to preventing the court system being clogged with unnecessary lease-renewal cases which in the past used to remained unresolved for months or even years. New case law is starting to appear where property advisers, owners and tenants have failed to embrace the changes and it will be interesting to see how the law helps to shape procedures in the future.

It is worthwhile recapping on some of the other changes. The ability on the part of the tenant to terminate the lease, known as a Section 26 Notice, remains, but in a slightly altered form.

That said, while all counter notice provisions have been removed in the case of a landlord's notice under Section 25, those in the case of a tenant's notice under Section 26 remain. …

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