Landlords ‘Must Not Ignore Consultation Procedures’

Appeal Ruling Highlights Compliance Issues

16.02.2011

A Court of Appeal ruling has highlighted just why it is so important for landlords to ensure they comply with all legal requirements, according to a property litigation expert at Irwin Mitchell.

It was recently revealed that the Court of Appeal backed a Lands Tribunal ruling that a landlord was not allowed dispensation from compliance with consultation requirements set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

In this case, the owner of a block of shops and flats intended to carry out major works to the building at a cost of £270,000.  Due to a failure to comply with the detailed consultation process required under the 1985 Act, the Court of Appeal held that the landlord could only recover £1,250 towards the cost of these works from the tenants, rather than the £270,000 actually spent.

Clare Rant, who specialises in property issues at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, said: “This case is a clear warning to residential landlords and freeholders on why they need to comply with the consultation procedures in place, particularly when major works are planned.

“In addition, it must be highlighted that while it is possible to apply for dispensation in the event the correct procedure is not followed, this case makes it clear that dispensation will be hard to obtain, even where there will be serious financial prejudice to the landlord as a result of its failure.

“The area of landlord and tenant law is an often complex one and it is vital that those involved in the ownership of property take the necessary steps to follow the correct regulations and procedures.

“People cannot underestimate the potential problems that can arise from not complying with the necessary procedures – anyone with doubts related to the issue should not shy away from seeking advice or support to ensure they do not fall foul of the requirements.”