Landlords should consult with residential leaseholders before either carrying out works above a certain value to a building, or entering into any long term agreement for the provision of services. That obligation only applies where a “qualifying long term agreement” is in effect. This is normally an Agreement (such as a lease) which is entered into by the Landlord for a term of more than 12 months.
The recent case of Corvan (Properties) Ltd -v- Abdel-Mahmoud has clarified that an initial contract period of 1 year which would then “continue thereafter until terminated upon three months’ notice by either party” will be treated as a lease in excess of 12 months because in normal usage of language, it indicated that it would go beyond that 12 month period. Thus, the landlord, in that case, was obliged to consult tenants as to carrying out works.
The obligation upon landlords to consult is not well known even after many years on the statute book and it is quite easy for landlords to make a mistake in the way in which they manage premises containing longer term leases. The law is becoming more and more complicated regarding these issues with many pitfalls for the unwary so our view is that you should take professional advice either from your solicitor or from specialist managing agents to make sure that you fully compliant with all of the relevant legislation otherwise you could be faced with a nasty financial shock in not being able to reclaim otherwise legitimate expenditure.
With acknowledgment to PLC (Thomson Reuters (Professional) UK Limited)