This surely has to be the biggest piece of Leasehold Reform News this year.
As previously mentioned on this site and elsewhere this act makes a small but simple amendment to the 1993 Act that will make it easier to bring and claims as notices will not have to be signed personally by the flat owner to be valid.
I am pleased to have had some part to play in effecting this change to the legislation through the ALEP working party on legislative reform.
For further details see below:
The Leasehold Reform Amendment Act
On 14 May 2014 the Leasehold Reform Amendment Act will come into force in England.
The Act is the result of a private members’ bill that makes a very simple but effective amendment to one of the key provisions of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 – namely the requirement that the flat owner must personally sign a notice claiming a new lease or the right to buy the freehold.
In practice this requirement has caused hardship, particularly where a flat owner has for example been under a disability and been unable to sign.
As the law previously stood, someone holding a power of attorney for the flat owner, or even their duly authorised agent (such as a solicitor acting on their behalf) could not sign the notice.
Now any duly authorised person can sign the notice.
Whilst the person signing will still need to show that they are duly authorised, the main practical benefit is likely to be that more people will be able to initiate or participate in claims, particularly in circumstances where signature may be difficult (for instance where they are abroad, or not readily available and able to sign).
This change will also make it easier to bring collective claims to buy the freehold to a building – particularly in a large block as the solicitor will be able to sign parts of the notice on behalf of the flat owners (provided that they have the requisite authority). What will be seen as constituting that authority remains to be seen.
Many of the other technical challenges to getting the notice right will still remain (meaning that expert assistance will very much still be required) – however, this amendment will speed up one element of the process and make claims easier in practice.
13th May 2014