1 August 2013 by

“What’s in a name?” Update on the new Property Chamber

On 1 July 2013 the new First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) came into being in England amalgamating the old Leasehold Valuation Tribunals, Residential Property Tribunals, Rent Tribunals, Agricultural Land Tribunals, Rent Assessment Committees and the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry. These reforms to the old tribunal system are part of the Ministry of Justice’s policy of unifying and simplifying the court and tribunal service in England and Wales. The aim is to create a one-stop service for all property, housing and land registration disputes. The new Property Chamber deals with three separate types of cases:

  • Residential Property;,
  • Land Registration; and
  • Agricultural Land & Drainage.

All cases dealt with by the new Property Chamber are governed by a new single set of practice and procedural rules brought in under the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Property Chamber) Rules 2013.

For the most part the Property Chamber’s Rules consolidate and simplify the old tribunal’s procedural rules. However, the key procedural changes under the Rules which property owners and professionals need to take note of are as follows:

  • The Property Chamber has the power to impose tougher sanctions including making ‘unless orders’ whereby if a party fails to comply with an order or direction then their claim may be struck out;
  • It also has wider powers to make costs orders including security of costs orders;
  • The old Leasehold Valuation Tribunal limit of £500 on the amount of costs that could be awarded to a successful applicant has been removed. Unlimited wasted costs orders can now be made against any party found to have acted unreasonably in bringing or defending a claim;
  • The power to transfer cases out of the Property Chamber to the Court where potentially unlimited costs orders are already the norm; and
  • Appeals from the Property Chamber will be heard by the Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber except for Land Registration Act 2002 cases which will be heard instead by the Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal.

In addition to the changes brought in by the Rules, the related legislation that brought the Property Chamber into being also means that landlords and letting agents must ensure that their Service Charges and Administrative Charges ‘Summary of tenant’s rights and obligations’ forms, and ground rent demands, which they issue to tenants are all updated.

For further information on how the new Property Chamber may affect you as either a landlord, tenant or agent, then please contact us on 0207 288 4700

25 July 2013 by

Non-disclosure: Does it really matter?

The parties in Financial Remedy Proceedings have an ongoing duty to provide full, frank, clear and accurate disclosure of their financial and other relevant circumstances. Indeed, they must sign a statement of truth to that effect when completing their financial statement, which contains a warning that proceedings for contempt of court can be brought against any person who makes or causes to be made a false statement. So it’s very serious stuff, but in reality very rarely happens.

25 July 2013 by

A Clean Break in time

Although it might sound like something from an episode of Doctor Who the recent case of Dale Vincent v Kathleen Julie Wyatt shows that it is now possible to achieve a clean break by the mere passage of time.

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