COVID-19: notice periods for seeking possession

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (CVA 2020), which came into force on 26 March 2020, extended the notice periods in relation to possession proceedings for certain residential tenancies. The provisions contained in Schedule 29 were originally due to end on 30 September 2020 but have been extended until 31 March 2021. The notice period that must be given in most types of notice seeking possession of residential properties in England or Wales between 29 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 is increased from three to six months. A shorter period can…

Upcoming leasehold reforms

Upcoming reforms are planned to make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their homes  In July 2020, the Law Commission (Commission) published Leasehold Home Ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease, which set out recommendations to make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy the freehold of their building or extend their lease. Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced on 7 January 2021 that, millions of leaseholders will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent at…

Update to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm regulations for residential landlords

In late 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government published a consultation seeking views on proposed amendments to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1693). Landlords of residential rented properties in England must comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. The aim of the consultation was to require landlords to: Install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance that uses any fuel type is installed (excluding gas cookers). Repair or replace…

Review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation to be launched

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced in December 2020 a review of the outdated commercial landlord and tenant legislation will be launched in early 2021, to address concerns that the current framework does not reflect the current economic conditions. This review will consider how to enable better collaboration between commercial landlords and tenants and also how to improve the leasing process to ensure our high streets and town centres thrive as we recover from the pandemic and beyond. The review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation will be launched this year…

Update: COVID-19 and protection from forfeiture for non-payment of rent

In October, a blog I wrote explained how commercial tenants should act without delay when applying for relief from forfeiture from non-payment of rent. A further update to this is that business tenants affected by COVID-19 will continue to benefit, until 31 March 2021, from: Protection from forfeiture for non-payment of rent. This will bring the length of time business tenants have been given support from the threat of eviction to one year. Restrictions on landlords recovering unpaid rent by the exercise of commercial rent arrears recovery. If you would…

Protecting your digital assets

Protecting digital assets and memories is vital as the shift online continues  The value of our online lives is becoming immeasurable, yet few people are recording or protecting their digital assets.  Whether the financial value of investments or the emotional value of family photos, if there is no arrangement in place to hand on passwords, list accounts, or give authority for access, there is the chance of losing assets forever when someone dies.   And problems can arise even while people are alive and still in a position to access online…

A quick guide to Self-Assessment tax returns and coronavirus schemes

The coronavirus outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on businesses and individuals. If you are self-employed, you may be concerned about paying your Self-Assessment tax bill due on 31 January 2021. In this post, we look at some of your options and government schemes set up to help businesses during the pandemic. What if I have tax payments due? If you currently owe tax from previous years, but your business is having difficulties with cash flow, you can contact the HMRC coronavirus helpline (0800 024 1222). They may be able…

Returning faulty Christmas gifts: What are your rights?

It can be disappointing to discover that a Christmas gift is faulty, but fortunately, you do have certain rights when it comes to returning gifts that do not function as they should. You may also be able to return gifts that you simply did not want or do not need. However, your rights differ if the product is in good working condition. In this post, we look at your rights when returning both faulty and unwanted Christmas gifts. Can I return a faulty Christmas gift? If a gift you have…

Avoiding a turkey of a Christmas when the family gets together

With the pandemic putting relationships under pressure and divorce rates recording their biggest percentage rise since 1972, family professionals and support groups are encouraging couples to focus on the wellbeing of the family over the festive season. Traditionally, more people petition for divorce in January than at any other time of the year, which is attributed to the pressure of the family Christmas get-together.  This season it’s expected that many more relationships, already under stress as a result of the life challenges brought about by coronavirus, will struggle to survive.…

How to repossess your property from squatters

Squatters have been an inconvenience for landlords, both residential and commercial, for many years. Of course, in residential situations, a person trespassing, or squatting in a house is a criminal offence, and assistance from the police is common. In a commercial scenario, the situation is far more complex and time-consuming, with a squatter having to be evicted with assistance from the courts and with possession being enforced by County or High Court Enforcement Officers. Our Litigation department at Bowling & Co recently assisted a client to recover possession of their…