Who needs to know about the legal obligations?
There are three main groups who need to know about legal rights and responsibilities relating to residential blocks: landlord (freeholder or head leaseholder); tenant leaseholder); and manager (such as a management company, Right to Manage Company or professional residential managing agents). Residential blocks can be purpose-built developments, conversions, part of a larger residential estate or, increasingly, part of a larger mixed-use development that includes office, retail and leisure space.
Traditionally, the landlord’s interest in a residential development is owned (and often managed) by a developer, investor or social housing provider, all of whom have specific legal responsibilities as part of ongoing ownership and management of a block. Flats within residential blocks are usually (but not always) sold on a leasehold basis.
However, increasing numbers of leaseholders are exercising their right to purchase the freehold, under lease enfranchisement, or exercising their Right to Manage. The latter enables leaseholders to take over the management of their block collectively but without the cost of purchasing the freehold. Either way, leaseholders taking on the management of their block of flats will face the same issues and legal responsibilities as a landlord. For both parties, a common way to deal with their various obligations is to appoint a professional residential managing agent.
How we can help
Regardless of whether you are a landlord, tenant or manager, the legal obligations of running and maintaining residential blocks are wide ranging. You need a firm that can offer a full range of legal services including landlord and tenant; planning; construction; property tax; corporate and company law; and regulatory law. Our property lawyers can help with a range of non-contentious and contentious matters, including the following:
- Buying, selling and letting property
- Granting, surrendering, extending, renewing and varying leases
- Lease enfranchisement and extensions (houses and flats)
- Licences for subletting, alterations and lease assignment
- Break clauses
- Replies to standard Leasehold Enquiries as part of a leasehold sale / purchase
- Company set up and company secretarial; corporate governance
- Regulatory including fire safety, health & safety and environmental
- Service charge and ground rent disputes including related Court and Tribunal proceedings (s27A reasonableness, s20 consultation, appointment of manager)
- Disputes between landlords and tenants
- Possession and forfeiture
- Leasehold Enfranchisement or extension (acting on behalf of landlords or tenants in relation to processes to acquire freehold or lease extension under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993)
- Right to manage (acting on behalf of landlords or tenants in exercise of the right to manage under the Common and leasehold Reform Act 2002)
- Lease renewal
- All related Court and Tribunal proceedings (Landlord & Tenant Act 1985; Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002; Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993)