And just like that, it was December.
Looking out over Russell Square, red telephone boxes converted to coffee shops; people making films on pavement corners; a flurry of black cabs and double-decker buses – the return to normalcy makes you question if the turbulency of 2021 ever happened; the clean, crisp Autumn air suitably reminiscent of the quiet after a storm.
So, what did 2021 bring for lessees?
Big ticket items have to include the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill 2021 going to, amongst other things, ground rents (title is a bit of a giveaway), although I do not imagine there will be a sudden surge in the price of peppercorns.
Other legislative input has arisen with the commencement on 1 May of the Debt Respite Scheme Regulations 2020, providing moratoriums for individuals involved in a mental health crises or seeking ‘breathing space’ for debt restructuring.
Many residential landlords will have welcomed the Courts reopening to possession proceedings, but they remain required to navigate the PD55C Coronavirus Notice obligations and will likely need to remember to until at least early 2022.
For those involved in litigation, there have been noises made by the Civil Justice Council as to the introduction of mandatory ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and with the proposals coming from Government in relation to commercial rent arrears and an arbitration scheme it seems that the scene is well set for this – however it is unclear what this could mean for lease dispute resolution mechanisms which have previously been held to be unlawful for seeking to oust the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
Cases abound, a few I have already written on this year, however others include:
– going to leasehold interpretation (which wholly appeals to the ‘legal geek’ in me);
– going to the burden of proof in respect to claims on service charges (although noting the commercial element here);
– going to, amongst other things, the application of the s20B(1) LTA 1985 limitation provisions; and
– going to extend the rule in Daejan Investments that only one lessee would needed to have acted differently
For Bishop & Sewell, 2021 has brought about the welcome merger with Monro Wright & Wasborough (who, according to “firm-lore”, trace their history back to Dickens’ clerking days, so working on conkers rules: we do now too!) – and with it an office re-jig meaning I now have a bigger window from which to survey the world…with my ever present cup of tea.
Charles Jamieson is an experienced solicitor in the Bishop & Sewell Dispute Resolution Department, taking instructions in Landlord & Tenant, Property, Commercial and Chancery disputes. If you would like to speak with Charles, or any member of the dispute resolution team, contact Bishop & Sewell by email to: email@example.com
The above is correct as at 16 November 2021. The information above may be subject to change as this is a constantly evolving situation.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.