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On the horizon

Posted on 1 May 2024


The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill 2023–24 continues to make its way through Parliament and is currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords. If made law it will introduce key changes to long leases of houses, leasehold enfranchisement, lease extensions, right to manage and ground rent, seeking to improve the rights of leaseholders. Most notably of late, rumours have been circulating that the abolition of ground rent would be scrapped after a consultation revealed the cost of the abolition on investment. It is now expected that ground rents will be phased out over a 20-year period. A formal announcement is expected in the coming days.     

The Renters Reform Bill is set to introduce sweeping changes to the private residential sector and continues to make its way through parliament having passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 24 April 2024. The most talked about change is the introduction of no-fault evictions i.e. a ban on the service of section 21 termination notices under the Housing Act 1988. As expected, an amendment to the bill has been proposed, ensuring that no-fault evictions will not be introduced under the legislation until the Court system has undergone reform.


The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 was made law on 26 October 2023. One of the key changes implemented by the Act was the introduction of a discretionary power for local authorities to carry out compulsory rental auctions of vacant properties on High Streets. This is intended to reduce levels of vacant property and improve High Streets generally. Further regulations are awaited dealing with the specifics of the process.

The Law Commission announced it will publish a consultation following a substantial review of the business tenancies regime under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Publication of the consultation paper is expected in Autumn 2024. This is a welcome announcement for legislation that is generally felt to be long overdue an overhaul. Dan Levy's commentary on the limitations and challenges of the Act can be found here.


Since 6 April 2024 proceedings under the Electronic Communications Code may be commenced in the First-Trier Tribunal. The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has announced that from 15 July 2024 all new Tribunal references will be required to be commenced in the First-Tier Tribunal, Property Chamber and will not longer be capable of being commenced in the Upper Tribunal. It is also expected that the remaining parts of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 will be brought into force by the end of 2024.


There are now five cases that are known to have been decided by the Tribunal since the Building Safety Act 2022 came into force and notably all of them have been decided in favour of leaseholders. The Upper Tribunal delivered its first decision on the interpretation of the Act when it handed down its judgment in Adriatic Land 5 Limited v Leaseholders of Hippersley Point [2023] UKUT 271 (LC). The effect of that decision was that paragraph 9 of Schedule 8 of the Act, which limits the recovery of costs via service charge in respect of legal services or other professional services relating to the liability (or potential liability) of a person incurred as a result of a relevant defect (as defined in the Act), would apply to costs incurred before the Act came into force. That raises the question as to the retrospective effect of the Act and will be deeply troubling to those landlords who intentionally incurred costs prior to the Act coming into force on the assumption they would be recoverable (on the basis the Act could not have retrospective effect). The decision is the subject of permission to appeal and will be heard by the Court of Appeal in the coming months.  

On 17 April 2024, the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) released its 2024 Edition of Contracts (JCT 2024) alongside the launch of the Design and Build 2024 Contracts. The amendments seek to modernise the JCT contracts to bring them in line with the most recent legislative updates to the Building Safety Act 2022. To date, some of the most significant changes include reducing the employer's response time to applications for extensions of time from 12 weeks to 8 weeks. The JCT 2024 also confirms that the application of liquidated damages will apply only up to the date of termination with a claim for general damages available thereafter. This is one of the many changes intended to bring greater certainty to users in what appears to be a constantly evolving construction landscape.  

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