Breaches of lease to be aware of at Christmas

It is that time of year once again….the festive season is upon us, but this time of year can cause leaseholders to unwittingly breach their leases.  

We do not want to dampen the spirit of the season, but below we have detailed a number of potential breaches of leases it is worth Managing Agents and leaseholders being aware of during the holiday season. 

  1. Air bnb – Flats in city centers are often an attractive prospect for short term lettings during Christmas party season. Most leases will contain clauses relating to the subletting of flats and therefore care should be taken by leaseholders to check their leases to make sure that offering a flat for a short term let would not breach the lease.
  2. Music/ Parties – Most leases will contain covenants in respect of music being audible or nuisances caused by acts of the residents. Nobody wants to be a party pooper but while a party may be a one off event, if merriment causes an ongoing nuisance a breach of lease could occur.
  3. Pets as presents – We are all familiar with the slogans ‘ a dog is for life and not just for Christmas’ and ‘ never buy pets as presents’ and we could not agree more….however this is very relevant to people living in leasehold flats in particular.  Leases will often contain restrictions on having dogs and cats. Some leases go further than this and encompass other pets.  If a leaseholder is looking to introduce a pet as a new family member or receives a pet, they must absolutely make sure that this will not breach the terms of the lease. If it does, there is a real risk that the new addition to the family will be required to be rehomed.
  4. Parking – Is it your turn to host Christmas this year? If so, is there enough space for all of the cars that are going to be arriving? Make sure any visitors are parking in allocated visitor parking bays or spaces which are associated with your property. Failure to do so could result in a breach of lease.
  5. Candles – Whether it be an advent candle or the latest winter spice scented candles, this time of year does seem to promote the use of candles. These are a fire hazard and may be in breach of the lease if used. Always check any relevant clauses and covenants in the lease to make sure that any act such as lighting candles does not constitute an inadvertent breach.  
  6. Lights on balconies – You cannot beat a good set of Christmas lights to get that holiday feeling, but where a leaseholder puts these lights may be controversial. If a flat has a balcony leaseholders should consider if the lease allows lights to be hung over balcony railings.  There is every chance that this would be prohibited and a breach of lease if such lights were hung up.
    It is also worth noting that while a leaseholder may enjoy the strobe effects on their lights, their neighbours may not and therefore if lights are permitted, a little consideration of neighbours would be wise to avoid nuisance arguments being raised. 
  7. Items left in communal gardens – Communal gardens are for the enjoyment of all who are entitled to use them, however, note any restrictions in leases about storing or using items in them. If that family size trampoline that was received as a gift is placed in the garden without permission, then there is a real risk that come New Year action may be taken to have it removed.
  8. When January comes…. – All good things must come to an end and once January arrives, the great taking down of decorations and trees begins. For those leaseholders who purchased real Christmas trees, these must be disposed of. Care should be taken not leave Christmas tree etc. in communal areas. This will equally apply to packaging – use the refuse areas provided and always in accordance with the leased.

If you need any assistance managing a breach of lease, please feel free to let us know and one of our experts will be happy to help and advise you of the options available. 

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