When leaseholders deliberately or accidentally fail to comply with the terms of their lease it can have a significant impact on residents and the smooth management of the overall estate.
As part of our expert view series Brady Solicitors, looks at some common breaches and how they can be tackled
Some common estate activity that could be seen as a breach of lease are
- Sub-letting the property
- Letting the property as a holiday home
- Letting the property on Airbnb. See expert view here
- Playing instruments/general noise issues
- Keeping pets
- Attempting to/carrying out alterations to the property without correct consent or any consent
- Damage to own property and that of neighbouring properties
- Keeping unsafe appliances within the property
- Failing to comply with obligations relating to repairs and decorations
- Abuse of car parking allowances/using spaces without permission
- Parking vans, caravans and other non-permitted vehicles
- Smoking cannabis
- General nuisance and disruption
Under section 168 (4) of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, an application can be made to the First Tier Tribunal which, with sufficient evidence as to the breach itself, can lead to a determination that the breach has occurred. This is of course dependent on what the the lease actually specifies in terms of activity and one should always use the lease as the starting point for estate management.
As with a County Court Judgement in respect of service charge arrears, this determination can be enforced against the defaulting tenant by way of possession/forfeiture proceedings.
Alternatively we can apply to the County Court on your behalf for a declaration that the breach has occurred, together with an injunction to prevent the breach from reoccurring.
More often than not however, disputes on their behalf prior to any First Tier Tribunal or County Court action simply by writing to the tenant in default in the first instance, setting out in full:
- The terms of their lease;
- The grounds for their breach of the lease;
- How they are to resolve such breach and;
- What action will be taken if the breach continues.
This opens communication with the leaseholder who may not have even realised the activity is a breach and it begins the process of resolution. At this stage mediation can be considered and this is a topic of an expert view here