Commercial Property Team Update – June 2023

Posted: 5th June 2023

Key Dates

1 June 2023 – A number of local authorities have published supplemental maps identifying additional lands, zoned residential or mixed-use, which may be subject to the residential zoned land tax (RZLT) of 3% of the market value of the land. The deadline for submissions to local authorities on the supplemental RZLT maps is 1 June 2023. Final maps will be published on 1 December 2023 and will be revised annual from 2025 onwards.

23 June 2023 – Consultation on new powers for English Local Authorities for compulsory high street rental auctions closes next month.

HMO Licence Requirement Changes in England and Wales for Asylum Seekers

MPs in England are set to vote on changes to Housing Regulations, which would result in reduced regulation for landlords who house asylum seekers within England and Wales. Landlords are currently required to obtain a Housing in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Licence for properties which home three or more people from two or more households and are sharing facilities within that property. The Houses in Multiple Occupation (Asylum-Seeker Accommodation) (England) Regulations 2023 will temporarily exempt landlords that enter into a tenancy with asylum seekers after the date in which the Regulations come into force from the obligation to obtain a HMO licence for a period of two years.

Rent Reformers Bill

The Bill to overhaul the private rented section in England was finally published this week. The key changes include:

  1. Abolition of the ‘no-fault’ ground for possession, which enables a landlord to end an assured shorthold tenancy on two months’ notice for any reason.
  2. All tenancies must be periodic, so it will no longer be possible to tie a tenant in to a minimum term.
  3. New landlord grounds to end a tenancy if they wish to sell their property or move in a new family member and a quicker and easier process to evict tenants for anti-social behaviour and repeated rent arrears.
  4. A landlord will not be able to refuse consent unreasonably to a tenant’s request to keep a pet.
  5. A landlord will only be able to increase rent once a year using the existing statutory process and a tenant will be able to challenge the increase in a tribunal.
  6. A new database of residential landlords and privately rented properties and a new compulsory Ombudsman scheme to investigate and determine tenant complaints.

Recent Cases

Young Cammiade [2023] UKUT 96 (LC) 2023

Key Question: Does s84(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925 confer power on the Upper Tribunal to discharge a restriction arising under a covenant prohibiting the registration of a transfer of a registered lease without the consent of the covenantee?

The Upper Tribunal does not have inherent jurisdiction. The Tribunal noted that section 84(12) extends the Tribunal’s power to leasehold covenants where the land is subject to a term of forty years or more, of which more than twenty five years have expired. However, the jurisdiction to discharge only extends to restrictions “as to the user” of land.

Promontoria (Oyster) DAC v Fox & Anor 2023

Key Question: Whether a creditor can rely on a registered lien as security for further advances to a debtor, i.e. as security for additional loans advanced after 31 December 2009.

The Court of Appeal has clarified that certain registered liens over Land Registry property continue to secure further advances. This reverses an earlier decision of the High Court and is an important clarification for lenders, loan purchasers and credit servicing firms dealing with secured property.

Davies v Bridgend County Council

Key Question: Does the presence of Japanese Knotweed at a Property constitute nuisance?

The Court of Appeal held that where the plant remained on the defendant’s land, there was no actionable nuisance, even if the plant was close to the boundary of the claimant’s land and therefore caused a diminution in value because of the risk of encroachment. However, once the boundary had been breached and the plant was present on the Claimant’s land, a recovery for diminution in value was possible because the plant represents a natural hazard that impact’s a landowner’s ability to fully use and enjoy their land. Following the decision in Network Rail v Williams (2018), physical damage to property caused by the plant is not a requirement.