News and Articles

Building safety update


It has been quite the week (and month) for Building Safety. It started on 01 June 2022 with the release of various updated guidance notes, including updated "fire safety guidance" for new build high-rise buildings (here). This was followed by the release of the draft statutory instrument: The Building Safety (Leaseholder Protections)(Information etc)(England) Regulations 2022 (here), which purports to strengthen leaseholder rights in affected buildings. We then heard from both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove on Thursday with various commitments to leasehold reform (albeit not specific to building safety). The week ended with the launch of a public consultation, which seeks views on the definition of buildings which will fall into scope of the new building regulations. The consultation can be found here and closes on 21 July 2022. By way of reminder, the timings for implementation of the Building Safety Act can be found here. For those keen to know more on the Act itself, helpful notes on interpretation can be found here.

Congratulations to Matt Hollamby!


Our very own Matt Hollamby has been shortlisted for "Young Lawyer of the Year" at this year's Enfranchisement and Right to Manage Awards. Matt has been a huge asset to our team since joining us in 2020, and being shortlisted is very much deserved. We wish Matt the best of luck at the awards ceremony, which takes place in London on 30 June 2022. Details can be found here.

Welcome to Zaiba!


We are delighted to welcome Zaiba to our team. Zaiba joins us from a firm in Worthing, and will be working alongside Emily and Dona. Zaiba is keen to learn more about landlord and tenant, and we are very pleased that she agreed to join us. Zaiba's profile can be found here.

FCA buildings insurance review


The FCA has been reviewing insurance products for multiple occupancy residentiai buildings and released an interim report. The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has issued an initial response, which references high premiums paid by leaseholders in blocks of flats. The full report is to follow. In the meantime, the Department's response to the FCA's initial review can be found here.

Queen's Speech - leasehold and commonhold reform #2


The Queen's Speech is used to announce proposed bills which the current government plans to introduce during that parliamentary session. Last year's speech included proposals to ban ground rents, which then led to the (now) Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022. Officials had previously indicated a third session bill for the leasehold and commonhold reform work - 2022 to 2023 being the third session. Whilst mention has been made of the reforms on pages 69 and 70 of the notes, this is not a committment to a full bill. The full document can be reviewed here.

Commonhold library launch


We are delighted to launch our new commonhold library. The new library complements our established leasehold library, which contains a range of advice notes from service charge disputes, major works, and finance, to funding non-participant shares on a collective enfranchisement. Our commonhold advice notes are designed for all - prospective commonholders, managing agents, and landlords. The topics range from buying and selling, commonhold finance, the basics and dispute resolution. Please contact us for more information.

Building Safety Bill receives Royal Assent


The much-debated and controversial Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent today. The Bill follows the voluntary pledge which seeks to address some of the historic remediation issues. We have yet to see some of the detail regarding implementation of the Bill, which will follow in secondary legilsation. The Bill can be found here. The Government also has a series of useful factsheets which can be found here. At the time of writing, these were last updated on 05 April 2022, so may not incorporate some of the final amendments, but which we assume will be updated in due course.

Commencement of Ground Rent legislation


The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 08 February 2022. The Government has now confirmed that the legislation will commence on 30 June 2022. The ban will affect all new leases (although there will be a delayed timeframe for retirement leases), and have some impact on current leases where leaseholders seek to extend their leases. The Government's full press release can be found here. We have also prepared our own advice note for our existing clients which is available upon request.

Queen's Speech - leasehold and commonhold reform


The House of Commons library is a very useful source of information for the Government's ongoing intentions. The latest update lists potential issues and bills which may be referenced in the Queen's Speech on 10 May 2022. The list is not confirmation or a guarantee, but simply an indication of the many issues which might be mentioned. Inevitably, not all of those topics will make it. We are pleased to note that "leasehold and commonhold reform" is on the list, following many years of talk of reforms. The full update can be found here.

Update your Will Week!


This week is "Update your Will Week", an event launched by Solicitors for the Elderly. The purpose of the week is to encourage people across the UK to review and update their wills. Their data suggests how infrequently people update their wills which can later lead to issues. Full details can be found here.

Commercial rent arrears


Whilst we are predominantely a residential property firm, the cross-over with commercial property law is inevitable, especially in cases involving mixed-use premises. The pandemic hit many commercial businesses hard, which led to temporary measures being brought in by the Government to assist commercial tenants who owed rent to their landlords. These temporary measures have now been replaced by the Commerical Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022, which received Royal Assent on 24 March 2022. The bill can be found here. This is complemented by an existing commerical rent best practice code which can be found here. The full press release can be found here.

Further CMA update on ground rents


The CMA has issued a further update, this time to confirm that 15 businesses have voluntarily agreed to rectify potentially onerous ground rent clauses, without any admission of liability or wrong-doing. This is an important step forward in the investigation as it means many more leaseholders will now receive assistance under the scheme. The full announcement can be read here. 

Full house at LMP conference with high profile speakers


It was a delight to see a full house at the recent “Leasehold Management Professionals” conference held in Bristol today. The conference saw a range of eminent speakers, with an emphasis on the ongoing building safety reforms. Our Matt Lewis, one of the directors of LMP, comments “It is really encouraging to see so many attendees at the conference. Building safety is a difficult topic given the ongoing reforms at the moment, and our speakers really helped identify key points for our agents. We are particularly grateful to all of our speakers and event sponsors for making the event such a success.”. The next conference will be held in Bournemouth on 28 April 2022, and details can be found here..

Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022


The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 08 February 2022. The Government has confirmed that the Act will commence within the next six months. In the same release, the Government has also confirmed that further leasehold reform will follow, although no indication has been given on the timings. The full release can be read here.

Commonhold vs leasehold: property management


We are delighted to feature in the current issue of News on the Block's magazine, which this month focuses on property management. Our article takes a look at the differences between property management for commonhold and leasehold buildings as part of our "commonhold vs leasehold" series. We will be hosting a live debate at Leasehold London 2022 for those interested in exploring the differences between the two systems. The full article can be read here.

Ground Rent Bill update


On Monday, the Commons debated the final amendments to the Ground Rent Bill, being the last reading. The Bill will now move to the final stages, before becoming law. There is no indication yet as to when the Bill will receive Royal Assent, but we anticipate that this will be soon. For more information on the Bill, please see here.

Leasehold Management Professionals - Spring Events


Matt Lewis, co-founder of Leasehold Management Professionals (LMP), is delighted to launch their Spring events calendar. The LMP regularly hosts events throughout the year for residential property managers, covering a range of current topics. This Spring, the events will be held in person in Bristol, Bournemouth and Brighton. The events will include notable speakers such as Amanda Gourlay, Dr Shaun Lundy and Andrew Bulmer, to name but a few. Full details, including booking, can be found here.

Appointment of manager applications


The Judiciary has issued a practice statement for appointment of manager applications made pursuant to section 24 of Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. The note gives guidance to the parties and includes a draft order to be used. The advice follows several years of turbulent applications. The full practice statement can be read here.  

Ground-breaking right to manage case


The Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in the highly anticipated Settlers Court right to manage case. The case concerns right to manage applications on multi-block estates and considers what land the right to manage company gets to acquire post-acquisition. Previously, Gala Unity was the leading case on this matter. Settlers Court now reverses the Gala Unity principles which will cause concern for affected right to manage companies. The bigger question is how this will affect the ongoing right to manage reforms. The full judgment can be read here. 

Building safety remediation update


Secretary of State, Michael Gove, yesterday announced a change of plan on remediation policy. The robust announcement changes the current position, meaning that leaseholders who live in buildings which are between 11 - 18 metres tall will no longer have to meet remediation costs. The announcement also included confirmation that the Fire Safety Act 2021 will commence shortly, as well as making changes to surveying policy for affected buildings. The Secretary of State made clear that they intended to pursue those at fault for the defective buildings in a welcome change to the policy. A transcript of the announcement can be found here.

Government releases key consultation


The Government has today launched a fresh consultation relating to the ongoing leasehold and commonhold reforms. The consultation focuses on specific Law Commission recommendations for enfranchisement, right to manage and commonhold. There are six key areas which the consultation looks at, mainly relating to qualifying criteria, including the controversial 50% rule. The consultation will run for six weeks. The full consultation can be found here.

CLE approved by Law Society for Conveyancing Quality Scheme


CLE is delighted to have received accreditation from the Law Society for their Conveyancing Quality Scheme. The Scheme is a recognised quality standard for those in the residential conveyancing sector. Our conveyancing team specialises in complex leasehold sale and purchases, working closely with our other teams to assist with difficult transactions, as well as acting on estate sales and regular freehold sale and purchases.

CMA provides update on ground rent investigation


Following various announcements earlier this year relating to other developers, the CMA has today issued an update in respect of Taylor Wimpey. Undertakings have been accepted from Taylor Wimpey which endeavour to reverse not just the onerous doubling clauses, but also the RPI conversions which were originally offered by Taylor Wimpey to remedy the doubling provisions. A link to the full announcement and the undertakings given can be found here.

Mari invited to speak at 'Leasehold London' conference


News on the Block has invited Mari to speak at their annual conference, which will this year be held in person. The conferences are well attended by lawyers, managing agents valuers, landlords and tenants. Mari will be hosting a debate "commonhold versus leasehold: live", which complements the team's popular written series. The "commonhold versus leasehold"  articles examine key differences on the two property ownership systems with each article focusing on a specific topic. The live debate will examine the basics and promises to be an exciting session! Tickets can be booked here.

December hours


We will be closing our office for the festive season from 12pm on Thursday 23 December and re-opening at 11am on Tuesday 04 January. The team wishes all a wonderful month!