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Leasehold Enfranchisement – the key changes

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A significant amount of luck and good timing appears to have been with those MPs  in the House of Commons and Baroness Williams in the House of Lords who were seeking to make a short but potentially important amendment to the statutory requirements governing the signature of notices by lessees seeking lease extensions or collective enfranchisement. Passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords in almost record time the rather unexcitingly named Leasehold Reform (Amendment) Act 2014 will come into force on 13th May 2014.

Currently the law requires that notices must be signed by lessees personally which has caused difficulty for those with physical or mental health issues which might prevent them from signing those documents. A Power of Attorney has not until now been sufficient.

From May personal signature will no longer be required  and a duly authorised solicitor or attorney will be able to sign on  behalf of an individual lessee.  

This small amendment is not without its issues already, even before the Act comes into force practitioners at the ALEP conference this week were discussing the possibilities for argument as to who a duly authorised person might be and what level  of authority will be required by a Landlord before they accept a notice as validly signed.  It is anticipated that most practitioners will err on the side of caution  and ensure that lessee clients provide written authority so that they have physical proof of the lessees intention.  We all await  the outcome of any  notices signed in this way and anticipate some county court cases in the coming months on the topic.

Rollingsons has experienced lawyers who can advise you regarding property litigation and enfranchisement. For more information about lease extensions or collective enfranchisement please contact Jane Canham via email or by telephone on 0207 611 4848.

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