Under a pilot scheme recently announced, the First Tier Tribunal of the Property Chamber (formerly known as the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal) is going to hear cases relating to the lease renewals of business tenancies.
The pilot scheme was initially scheduled to run for one year from 1 December 2017. HMCTS has advised us that the scheme will now commence in early 2018 but no official date has been set.
The Tribunal already has an excellent set of directions which are used for the renewal of leases under the leasehold reform legislation (predominantly the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993).
Where leases are renewed in relation to business premises under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, the standard procedure is for the case to be dealt with in the County Court.
There will be no change to the position concerning where proceedings are issued (this will still be at Court) but, as the lease renewal process is more of a negotiation than straight forward litigation, the more streamlined approach adopted by the First Tier Tribunal is likely to lead to the more efficient progress and resolution of these cases.
Stephen Charnock, Associate Solicitor, Landlord & Tenant team commented:
“The Landlord & Tenant and Property Litigation teams at Bishop & Sewell are very familiar with the provisions relating to the renewal of leases and are experts at using the tribunal in relation to leasehold reform matters. It is good to see that HM Courts and Tribunals Service has decided to extend the good practice relating to the renewal of leases under the leasehold reform legislation to business tenancies and we welcome the suggested pilot.”
Bishop & Sewell have been involved in the discussions leading up to the pilot scheme and are on the tribunal’s frequent user group panel. This pilot scheme, together with the proposed ‘fused jurisdiction’ pilot that the tribunal service is also looking to run (relating to concurrent jurisdictions under the 1993 Act between the Court and the First Tier Tribunal) means that 2018 will be an exciting time for the tribunal service.
A short article on the subject appears below: