The Great Debate: Pets in Flats – What Are Your Rights?

Introduction

 

The question of whether purchasers or tenants can demand that pets be allowed to live with them in their flats is a topic that has sparked heated discussions and legal debates for quite some time. While the UK is known for its love of animals, it’s also a nation with a significant number of people living in flats or apartments, where pet policies can vary greatly. In this blog, we’ll explore the rights and responsibilities of both property owners and renters when it comes to keeping pets in flats.

 

Understanding the Landlord-Tenant Dynamic

 

Before diving into the specifics of pet policies, it’s crucial to understand the legal relationship between landlords and tenants. Landlords have a legal right to set the terms and conditions of their rental agreements, which can include pet policies. Conversely, tenants have rights as well, including the right to a quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their rented property.

 

Pet Policies in Rental Agreements

 

The inclusion of pet policies in rental agreements is a common practice. Landlords have the right to impose restrictions on whether pets are allowed in their flats. These restrictions can range from a complete ban on pets to more lenient policies that specify the types and sizes of pets that are permitted.

 

However, it’s important to note that since January 2021, the UK government has amended its model tenancy agreement to make it easier for renters with pets to find suitable accommodation. These changes encourage landlords to consider allowing pets in their properties, provided that tenants meet certain criteria and agree to adhere to responsible pet ownership guidelines.

 

Reasonable Pet Policies

 

A reasonable pet policy should strike a balance between the rights of landlords to protect their property and the rights of tenants to enjoy the companionship of their pets. A reasonable pet policy might include the following considerations:

 

  1. Pet Deposit: Landlords can ask for an additional security deposit to cover potential damages caused by pets. This deposit should be refundable if no damage occurs.

 

  1. Pet References: Tenants may be asked to provide references from previous landlords or neighbours to vouch for their responsible pet ownership.

 

  1. Pet Size and Breed Restrictions: Some landlords may have size or breed restrictions on the pets they allow in their flats.

 

  1. Responsible Ownership: Tenants should agree to clean up after their pets, prevent excessive noise, and ensure that their pets do not cause a nuisance to neighbours.

 

  1. Pet Clauses: Specific pet-related clauses should be added to the tenancy agreement, outlining the rights and responsibilities of both parties regarding pets.

 

Challenging a No-Pet Policy

 

If a flat has a strict “no-pets” policy, tenants do have some options to challenge it:

 

  1. Negotiate: Tenants can try to negotiate with the landlord to allow a pet, especially if they have a well-behaved animal and are willing to comply with any reasonable conditions.

 

  1. Check Local Laws: In some cases, local housing laws may override a “no-pets” policy, so it’s essential to research the specific regulations in your area.

 

  1. Appeal to a Tribunal: If all else fails, tenants can appeal to a tribunal or court to challenge an unreasonable “no-pets” policy, especially if they believe it infringes on their rights to quiet enjoyment and a family life.

 

Conclusion

 

The issue of whether purchasers or tenants can demand pets be allowed to live with them in their flats involves a delicate balance between the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. While landlords have the right to set pet policies, recent changes in tenancy agreements encourage a more lenient approach, making it easier for responsible pet owners to find suitable accommodation. Communication, negotiation, and awareness of local laws are key factors in resolving any disputes regarding pet policies in flats. Ultimately, finding a middle ground that respects the interests of both landlords and tenants can lead to more harmonious living environments for everyone involved.

Landlords and Major Works

The most recent ruling from the Upper Tribunal offers valuable insights into the application of the Building Safety Act 2022 concerning recoverable service charges. Specifically, it pertains to instances where there’s a request to bypass the section 20 consultation procedure for urgent major works.

Usually, if a freeholder landlord plans works that will cost a leaseholder more than £250, they must adhere to the consultation process outlined in section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985). However, there’s an exception for urgent works, particularly those related to occupant safety, allowing landlords to apply to the First-tier Tribunal (FtT) for dispensation from the formalities. This exception now includes urgent works under the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA 2022).

In the case of Adriatic Land 5 Ltd v Long Leaseholders at Hippersley Point [2023] UKUT 271 (LC), the landlord sought dispensation for urgent safety repairs at Hippersley Point. While unconditional dispensation was granted, a condition under section 20C restricted the recovery of application costs from service charges. Despite the landlord’s appeal and subsequent review, the First-tier Tribunal upheld this condition through a costs order, essentially preventing the recovery of application costs via service charges.

The appeal in the Upper Tribunal centered on two key points:

  1. Whether the FtT had the authority to impose a costs condition concerning service charges.
  2. The relevance of Paragraph 9 of Schedule 8 to the BSA 2022, which had just come into effect before the review decision.

The Upper Tribunal ruled that the FtT had erred in its decision by imposing the costs order without input from the involved parties. Furthermore, it emphasized that Paragraph 9 of Schedule 8 in the BSA 2022 outlined that leaseholders aren’t liable for service charge costs related to legal or professional services incurred due to relevant defects after June 28, 2022. This provision protects leaseholders from incurring costs for dispensation applications related to building safety works under the BSA 2022.

Essentially, this ruling signifies a shift in the liability for service charge costs incurred after June 28, 2022, exempting qualifying leaseholders from these expenses. It’s a critical consideration for landlords undertaking urgent property works, as it establishes a cut off for recoverable legal costs from service charges post-June 28, 2022.

 

If you have any concerns regarding the above, please feel free to contact our property department.

A Guide for Leaseholders: Dealing with RAAC Properties

Introduction

 

Leasehold property ownership has long been a common way to own a home, especially in urban areas. However, many leaseholders face challenges and uncertainties when it comes to properties built using the Rapidly Applied Affordable Construction (RAAC) method. RAAC is a construction technique that was popular for its speed and cost-effectiveness but has since raised concerns due to issues related to building quality and safety. In this blog, we will discuss what leaseholders can do if their property was built using RAAC and what steps they can take to address potential issues.

 

Understanding RAAC Construction

 

RAAC construction is characterized by its rapid assembly of pre-fabricated components, often using lightweight materials. While this approach can deliver homes quickly and at a lower cost, it has also been associated with certain problems such as structural defects, inadequate insulation, and issues with fire safety.

 

Challenges for Leaseholders

 

Leaseholders of RAAC properties may face several challenges, including:

 

  1. Structural Concerns: RAAC properties may be more susceptible to structural issues, such as cracks in walls, due to the construction method. These issues can be costly to repair and may impact the property’s value.

 

  1. Fire Safety: Some RAAC properties have been found to have inadequate fire safety measures, which can pose significant risks to residents.

 

  1. Energy Efficiency: RAAC properties may not meet modern energy efficiency standards, resulting in higher energy bills for leaseholders.

 

  1. Warranty Issues: RAAC builders and developers may no longer be in business, making it difficult to claim on warranties for defects.

 

Steps for Leaseholders

 

If you are a leaseholder of an RAAC property, there are several steps you can take to address these challenges:

 

  1. Review Your Lease Agreement: Start by carefully reviewing your lease agreement to understand your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder. Pay attention to any clauses related to maintenance and repairs.

 

  1. Join a Leaseholder Association: Consider joining or forming a leaseholder association with fellow residents. This can provide collective bargaining power and support in dealing with property-related issues.

 

  1. Seek Legal Advice: If you encounter structural defects, fire safety concerns, or other issues, consult one of our solicitors who specializes in property law. We can help you understand your legal options and potential claims against developers or builders.

 

  1. Engage with Local Authorities: Contact your local council and fire authority to report any concerns about fire safety or building quality. They may conduct inspections and take action if necessary.

 

  1. Energy Efficiency Improvements: Investigate energy-efficient upgrades that can improve the performance of your RAAC property. This may include better insulation, efficient heating systems, and double-glazed windows.

 

  1. Explore the Building Safety Act: Stay informed about developments in building safety legislation, such as the Building Safety Act. This legislation aims to improve building safety standards and may provide additional protections for leaseholders of RAAC properties.

 

  1. Consider Leasehold Reform: Keep an eye on proposed leasehold reform initiatives, which could change the legal framework for leasehold properties. These reforms may offer solutions for leaseholders facing RAAC-related challenges.

 

Conclusion

 

Leaseholders of RAAC properties face unique challenges related to building quality, safety, and energy efficiency. However, by understanding their rights, seeking legal advice, and engaging with local authorities and community organizations, leaseholders can take steps to address these issues. It is essential for leaseholders to stay informed about changes in legislation and actively advocate for their rights and the safety of their homes.

 

Please call us with any concerns you may have on 0161 850 9911.

Celebrating International Women’s Day: Empowering Women in Law

Introduction

As the world comes together to celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s essential to reflect on the progress made in achieving gender equality and recognise the work that still needs to be done. In the legal profession, strides have been made towards gender parity, but there are still significant barriers that women face in their careers. At Khan Mather, we believe in championing diversity and empowering women in law. On this International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of women in the legal profession and renew our commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace.

Empowering Women in Law

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of gender diversity in the legal profession. Women make up a significant portion of law school graduates, yet they continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions within law firms and legal organizations. At Khan Mather, we are committed to fostering an environment where women can thrive and advance in their careers.

We believe in providing equal opportunities for professional development and advancement for all our employees, regardless of gender. Our firm actively supports initiatives aimed at promoting gender diversity and inclusion, such as mentorship programs, networking events, and leadership training. By providing women with the resources and support they need to succeed, we are helping to break down the barriers that have traditionally held them back in the legal profession.

Celebrating Achievements

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of women in law and recognise the contributions they make to the legal profession and society as a whole. From trailblazing judges and lawyers to advocates for social justice and equality, women have played a vital role in shaping the legal landscape and driving positive change.

We are proud to have many talented and accomplished women within our firm who serve as role models and mentors for the next generation of female lawyers. Their dedication, leadership, and expertise inspire us all to strive for excellence and work towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Looking Ahead

While much progress has been made, there is still work to be done to achieve true gender equality in the legal profession. We must continue to challenge outdated attitudes and practices, address systemic barriers to advancement, and create a culture of inclusivity and respect.

On this International Women’s Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering women in law and creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace for all. Together, we can build a future where every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of gender.

Conclusion

At Khan Mather, we are proud to stand with women in law and support their continued advancement and success. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us reflect on the progress we have made and recommit ourselves to the work that still lies ahead. Together, we can create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable legal profession for future generations. Happy International Women’s Day!

Enhancing Legal Practice: Should All Law Firms Implement AI-Harvey?

Introduction

 

In an era where technological advancements are rapidly transforming various industries, the legal profession is no exception. One significant development gaining attention is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems into law firms. Among the prominent AI solutions is AI-Harvey, a cutting-edge platform designed to assist legal professionals in their day-to-day operations. In this blog, we will explore the potential benefits and considerations surrounding the implementation of AI-Harvey in all law firms.

 

  1. Efficiency and Time Savings

 

One of the primary advantages of implementing AI-Harvey in law firms is the potential for increased efficiency and time savings. AI-Harvey can streamline numerous time-consuming tasks such as legal research, document review, and contract analysis. By automating these processes, legal professionals can focus on more complex and strategic aspects of their work. Additionally, AI-Harvey’s ability to quickly process vast amounts of data can significantly reduce the time required to prepare cases and respond to clients’ inquiries.

 

  1. Enhanced Accuracy and Consistency

 

Another compelling reason for adopting AI-Harvey is its capacity to enhance accuracy and consistency in legal practice. Human error is an inherent risk, and the consequences of mistakes in legal matters can be severe. AI-Harvey, on the other hand, leverages machine learning algorithms to ensure precise and consistent results. By eliminating or minimizing errors, law firms can enhance their credibility, improve client satisfaction, and potentially reduce legal disputes arising from inaccuracies.

 

  1. Cost Reduction

 

AI-Harvey’s implementation can lead to substantial cost reductions for law firms. While the initial investment may appear significant, the long-term benefits outweigh the expenses. By automating various tasks, AI-Harvey can reduce the need for manual labor, enabling law firms to allocate their resources more effectively. Additionally, the platform’s ability to handle repetitive and mundane tasks can free up lawyers’ time, allowing them to focus on higher-value work and generate more revenue for the firm.

 

  1. Augmented Legal Research

 

Legal research is a crucial aspect of practising law, and AI-Harvey can significantly enhance this process. The platform can analyse vast amounts of legal precedents, statutes, and case law in seconds, providing lawyers with quick and accurate insights. This augmented research capability enables legal professionals to make more informed decisions, develop stronger arguments, and ultimately deliver better outcomes for their clients.

 

  1. Ethical Considerations and Human Touch

 

While the implementation of AI-Harvey brings numerous benefits, it is essential to address ethical considerations and the preservation of the human touch in the legal profession. While AI can assist in streamlining tasks and providing insights, it cannot replace the empathy, judgment, and creativity that human lawyers bring to their work. Therefore, it is crucial to strike a balance between utilizing AI-Harvey’s capabilities and ensuring that lawyers continue to provide personalized, client-focused services.

 

Conclusion

 

The integration of AI-Harvey in law firms offers compelling advantages, including increased efficiency, enhanced accuracy, cost reduction, and augmented legal research capabilities. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that AI should be seen as a tool to support legal professionals rather than a complete replacement for human expertise. Striking the right balance between leveraging AI technologies and maintaining the human touch is key to harnessing the full potential of AI-Harvey and delivering exceptional legal services to clients.

 

As the legal profession continues to evolve, law firms should carefully consider the adoption of AI-Harvey, taking into account their unique needs, ethical responsibilities, and the value that AI can bring to their practice. With the right implementation strategy and a focus on collaboration between AI and human lawyers, AI-Harvey has the potential to revolutionize legal practice and pave the way for a more efficient,

 

 

 

 

 

As the legal profession continues to evolve, law firms should carefully consider the adoption of AI-Harvey, taking into account their unique needs, ethical responsibilities, and the value that AI can bring to their practice. With the right implementation strategy and a focus on collaboration between AI and human lawyers, AI-Harvey has the potential to revolutionize legal practice and pave the way for a more efficient way or working

 

As a local family firm, we are not in the position to implement Harvey but the bigger question is if we could, would we?

Navigating the Opportunity: Buying Properties with Tenants in Situ

At Khan Mather, we understand that purchasing a property is a significant decision—one that involves careful consideration, strategic planning, and, more often than not, a multitude of questions. One such scenario that’s gaining momentum in the real estate market is acquiring properties with tenants in situ, a proposition that presents both opportunities and complexities.

Investing in a property with tenants already in place can offer numerous advantages, from immediate rental income to a potentially smoother transition into property ownership. However, it’s crucial to approach this prospect with vigilance and an informed understanding of the legal landscape involved.

The Benefits:

  1. Steady Income Stream: Acquiring a property with existing tenants ensures a continuous flow of rental income from day one. This stability can be an appealing factor for investors seeking immediate returns.

 

  1. Reduced Vacancy Periods: By purchasing a property with established tenants, you mitigate the risk of prolonged vacancies. The rental income continues uninterrupted, minimizing any financial gaps.

 

  1. Avoiding Set-Up Costs and Time: Securing new tenants can be time-consuming and financially burdensome. Buying a property with existing occupants saves you the effort and expenses associated with finding and vetting tenants.

 

The Considerations:

  1. Lease Agreements: Thoroughly reviewing existing lease agreements is paramount. Understanding the terms, conditions, and the rights of both the tenants and the landlord is crucial in ensuring a smooth transition.

 

  1. Legal Compliance and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local housing laws, tenant rights, and landlord obligations. It’s essential to ensure that the existing tenancy aligns with legal requirements.

 

  1. Communication and Documentation: Open communication with the current tenants is essential. Documenting the terms of the existing tenancy agreement and ensuring all parties understand the change in ownership is vital.

 

At Khan Mather, our expertise lies in guiding our clients through such complex real estate transactions. We offer comprehensive legal support to navigate the intricacies involved in acquiring properties with tenants in situ.

 

Our Services Include:

  1. Due Diligence: Thorough examination of existing lease agreements, ensuring legal compliance, and identifying any potential risks or liabilities.

 

  1. Contractual Support: Assisting in drafting or reviewing contracts to safeguard your interests during the transition of property ownership.

 

  1. Tenant Communication: Facilitating communication between buyers and existing tenants to ensure a transparent and amicable transition.

 

  1. Legal Advice and Guidance: Providing expert counsel on landlord-tenant laws, rights, and obligations to protect your investment and mitigate risks.

 

As you contemplate this opportunity, know that our team is dedicated to supporting you throughout this process. Our goal is to ensure that your property investment journey is not only lucrative but also legally sound and hassle-free.

Should you have any questions or seek further guidance on purchasing properties with tenants in situ, please do not hesitate to reach out. Your confidence in us is the cornerstone of our commitment to your success.