Property Litigation – Looking Forward To 2024

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Property Litigation – Looking Forward To 2024

Author: Nia Workman

Key Contact: Jennifer Butcher

There are several significant property litigation developments on the horizon in England and Wales in 2024. These developments include key areas of legislation coming into force, and a summary is set out below.

Further Implementation of the Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA 2022) was brought into force on 28 April 2022 and has been implemented gradually since.

Some elements of the BSA 2022 that are not yet in force include implying terms into leases relating to building safety and the recovery of safety related costs. It is predicted that these are likely to be implemented in 2024.

Given that there has already been a remediation order and a remediation contribution order under the BSA 2022, key areas for potential disputes in 2024 include:

  • Liability for building safety defects;
  • Special measures orders and claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972; and
  • Leaseholders (both with qualifying and non-qualifying leases) resisting current service charge demands and attempts to recover service charge monies that have already been paid.

Rule changes under the Civil Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2023 – Fixed Recoverable Costs

On 1 October 2023, the Civil Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2023 (SI 2023/572) came into force, making changes to the rules on fixed recoverable costs. The new rules apply to all proceedings in the fast or immediate track issued on or after 1 October 2023. However, there is one important point to note for property litigators in that housing claims will be excluded for a period of two years. Housing claims include claims or counterclaims relating to possession, disrepair or unlawful eviction of a residential property or dwelling. Boundary disputes are not included in this exclusion, however.

Property claims that are likely to come under the new fixed costs rules are: –

  • Claims for possession of commercial property;
  • Terminal dilapidations claims;
  • Boundary disputes; and
  • Trespass claims.

Changes under the Leasehold and Reform Bill – Enfranchisement and Residential Long Leasehold

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament on 27 November 2023. The Bill aims to improve the consumer rights of leaseholders by making the enfranchisement and lease extension procedure cheaper and simpler to carry out.

The Bill will also incorporate the banning of the creation of new leasehold houses (other than in exceptional circumstances), which the government has now committed to. The Government has taken its first step by consulting on capping ground rents for leases that were completed before 30 June 2022, and this consultation closes on 21 December 2023.

Abolition of “no fault” evictions under the Renters Reform Bill 2023-24

The Renters Reform Bill 2023-24 (RRB) introduced a ban on no fault evictions under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. No fault evictions (also known as Section 21 proceedings) essentially give landlords the power to evict tenants after the initial fixed term of their tenancy agreement without giving any explicit reason.

The RRB aims to move the private rented sector to a simpler tenancy structure which makes all assured tenancies periodic. The Government also proposes additional amendments, including prohibiting landlords from operating a blanket policy of not renting to tenants with children or tenants receiving benefits.

It should be noted, however, that although the RRB has been reintroduced in this Parliamentary session, the no fault eviction ban has been paused at the current time due to pending improvements to the court service.

Should you wish to discuss any of the above updates in more detail, please contact our Property Litigation team, who will be happy to assist.

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