1 April 2014 by Leon Pascal
The Leasehold Reform (Amendment) Act 2014 (‘the Act’) was given Royal Assent on 14 March 2014, and will come into force on 14 May 2014.
The Act amends Section 99(5)(a) of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 which currently provides that a notice served under the Act in respect of collective enfranchisement or a leaseholder’s individual right to a lease extension must be signed personally by the Tenant or Tenants exercising the right.
Whilst in the vast majority of cases this was little more than an administrative burden the courts have interpreted it as an absolute rule in all circumstances. As such, a notice could not be signed on behalf of a Tenant even if, for example, a Lasting Power of Attorney was in place, the Tenant lived overseas, or the Tenant was unable to sign for some other reason. It is not difficult to see how this blanket rule could prevent somebody from exercising a right to which they would otherwise be entitled when in other areas of law such circumstances are taken into consideration.
The Act has amended this anomaly, but only in respect of leasehold property in England. Housing legislation in Wales is a power devolved to the Welsh Assembly and it is not yet clear whether the Welsh Assembly intend on introducing a similar change in the law.
Should you have any questions regarding the Act, or lease extensions/collective enfranchisement in general, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Jones, Julie Hoy or Leon Pascal in our Commercial Real Estate team.
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