Hounslow LBC v Waaler [2017] EWCA Civ 45, Court of Appeal, 02 February 2017

Repairs – Improvements – Reasonableness – Service charges

The landlord appealed an Upper Tribunal decision that it was not entitled to recover the full cost for the replacement of the original wooden-framed windows with new metal framed units. The works had been held to be an improvement. The Court of Appeal held that there was a real difference between works which the landlord was obliged to undertake and optional improvements. When determining whether costs of improvements had been "reasonably incurred" for the purposes of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.19(1)(a) the landlord must consider the interests of the lessees, their views and financial means. It was not a question of the landlord's decision-making process or whether he had acted reasonably in deciding to undertake the work.   Karasu v Nasir, 13 January 2017 (unreported)

American Cyanamid – Interim injunctions – Occupation – Payment of rent into court

The defendant was the tenant of commercial premises. The claimant alleged that from April 2015 he had been in possession following an agreement to assign. He had gone into occupation pending completion, had paid £25,000 and carried out improvements. The defendant changed the locks to the premises and the claimant had obtained an interim injunction. No proceedings had then been issued for three months. The defendant made an application to discharge the interim injunction, to strike out the claimant's claim and for an order requiring the claimant to give possession of premises back to the defendant. The court refused the application and continued the interim injunction on terms that (a) the claimant paid money into court; (b) continued to pay the rates and utility bills as they fell due; (c) he paid to the defendant seven days before each rent day a sum equal to the quarter's rent due to the landlord. In the event of breach, the injunction would be discharged and the defendant would be at liberty to apply for an order that the claimant give up possession.

Oldham MBC v Tanna [2017] EWCA Civ 50, Court of Appeal, 10 February 2017 

Land Registry – address for service of notices

A local authority appealed against a decision that it had not validly served notice on the respondent’s "last known address" under the Local Government Act 1972 s.233 or "last known place of abode" under s.329 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 when it served notice to his address as listed on the proprietorship register. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal. As a general rule, when title to a property is registered at HM Land Registry a person's obligation to make ‘reasonable inquiries’ in order to ascertain the owner address for the purpose of serving a notice relating to that property went no further than to search the proprietorship register. It was the registered proprietor's duty to update the address. If the person serving the notice was aware of a more recent address than that shown in the proprietorship register, then notice should be served on that address also.

Allocation of housing cases after the closure of Lambeth County Court

After years of uncertainty it appears that the Lord Chancellor has now decided that when the County Court at Lambeth closes in September 2017, all housing cases will go to a Crown Court in the London Borough of Southwark and not Camberwell Magistrates Court, as previously suggested.