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by Avi Barr and Claudia Rubiano
The Government has just announced a wide-ranging review of Part 2 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954. This legislation has been a cornerstone of landlord and tenant work for over 60 years and was last reviewed about 20 years ago. In effect, it contains the rules that relate to security of tenure and the ability to exclude a tenant’s rights to a new lease. The review is said by the Government to be “wide ranging” and is designed to try and improve conditions for landlord and tenants taking into account the challenges particularly on the high street in letting commercial space. However, the Government review contains very little by way of ideas of how the legislation could be improved.
Here are some thoughts that I have on how security of tenure may be reviewed for the benefit of everyone:-
I am sure that people far wiser than me will come back with other ways of reviewing the legislation but the key objective here must be creating a more streamlined and quicker process so that the time between landlords and tenants or their agents agreeing terms and keys being handed out is shortened as much as possible, and the process made as simple as possible.
The 1954 Act was initially introduced to protect tenants at a time when there was shortfall of commercial units after the war. We face a different market nowadays, with a well-supplied market where the security of tenure exclusions may arguably be holding back business or increasing costs and time for all parties. A review of the Act seems necessary to remove barriers and modernise the legal framework to fit the current market, reducing empty high streets and potentially reducing the antisocial behaviour that may come with it.