The year ahead looks to be another interesting one for real estate. Our property disputes team led by Helen Wheddon looked at some recent updates in their Quarter Day Webinar. Some of the issues considered by the team are summarised here:
Building Safety Act 2022
Following the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017 the Building Safety Act was a much anticipated piece of legislation. The government has labelled it as the “biggest change to building safety regulation in a generation”. Therefore, it was hoped that the Act would be clear and unambiguous. Unfortunately, it seems that the final wording of the legislation which received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 is anything but, and we expect to see a significant number of cases this year dealing with the true meaning of the provisions within the statute - there has even been suggestions that the Act may be challenged by judicial review!
Caroline Delaney discusses the Act including leaseholder protections, certificates, and remediation orders.
Commercial service charges
The Supreme Court decision in Sara Hossein Asset Holdings Ltd v Blacks Outdoor Retail Ltd was published on 18 January 2023. This case originally heard in 2020 concerns the construction of a service charge provision which stated that the tenant was to pay a “fair and reasonable proportion” of service charges as set out in the landlord’s service charge certificate which would be “conclusive in the absence of manifest error, mathematical error or fraud”.
Blacks’ case was that they were not obliged to pay the service charges demanded because the landlord’s certificate wrongly contained costs which it said were unnecessarily incurred. The Supreme Court dismissed Blacks appeal deciding that the landlord’s certificate was conclusive, and that Blacks should pay the sums claimed now and then argue later about its liability to pay.
Markus Klempa reviews this recent case and service charge mechanisms generally in commercial leases.
In Autumn 2022 the Valuation Office Agency published its central rating list which sets business rates from 1 April 2023. Consequently, the recent changes to rateable values will affect the amount of statutory compensation payable to a tenant under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 when landlords oppose a tenant’s lease renewal on a non-fault ground. Therefore, landlords and tenants alike may wish to consider when they serve their section 25 notice or section 26 request for renewal to maximise or reduce the level of statutory compensation payable, with a key deadline at the end of January 2023.
Jessica Waters looks at the recent changes to business rates and the latest insolvency figures.
Also to look out for this year, is the Private Renters Reform Bill due by the end of May 2023 which is expected to mark the end of Section 21, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which proposes powers to nominated Local Authorities to auction off vacant commercial high street premises and the tightening of the MEES regulations coming into force on 1 April 2023.
Watch the full webinar below.