John Wagstaffe, Solicitor, Property Litigator

Registered with
Monday 2nd September 2013

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 5

John Wagstaffe, Solicitor, Property Litigator

15:23 PM, 19th February 2018
About 3 years ago

Cuddly Corbyn wants to give tenants the right to keep pets

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 19/02/2018 - 14:26
The case was fact-specific so one cannot know for certain what would happen in a different case but my expectation would be that a landlord who was in the position of the management company would be subject to the same test. The court found that having a no pet policy is permissible provided it is not an absolute policy - the landlord or management company must reserve sufficient discretion to allow itself to permit pets in the right circumstances e.g. an assistance dog. And it must properly consider requests - it cannot simply dismiss them out of hand. It is important to remember however that the covenant in question in this case prohibited pets without the management company's consent. It would have been very different if the covenant simply prohibited pets without any discretion to be exercised on the part of the management company as to whether or not to permit pets.... Read More

John Wagstaffe, Solicitor, Property Litigator

9:20 AM, 19th February 2018
About 3 years ago

Cuddly Corbyn wants to give tenants the right to keep pets

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 14/02/2018 - 10:16You may be interested to read the judgment in a case on point that I was recently involved (and was, happily, successful) in -
John... Read More

John Wagstaffe, Solicitor, Property Litigator

9:36 AM, 22nd May 2014
About 7 years ago

Director Liable for Company Debt?

There are a number of possible explanations of what has happened here. The following seems to me to be likely, and it would result in personal liability for the director:

You let the property to a company. But it appears the company was liquidated, and you knew about it. The company could not remain in possession of the property post-liquidation, but possession was not delivered up to you. Someone remained in possession. Who was that? It appears to have been the director. What therefore is the status of him and the old lease?

You accepted rent from the director, albeit he paid it through various of his other companies. And you allowed him to remain in occupation. It therefore seems likely that there was an implied surrender of the company's lease, which you tacitly accepted, or it was abandoned, and you then tacitly granted a new lease to the director. If that is the case then the director would be personally liable for the rent arrears.

The fact that the director paid the rent through various companies is a complicating factor, but that speaks more about his financial mis-management of those companies rather than his relationship with you. It is unlikely that each time he paid rent from another company, you can be deemed to have accepted a surrender of the lease from the former company and granted a new one to the next company. That would, by the sound of it, have had to have happened every month. The only consistent entity with whom you had dealings after the lease to the first company was the director. He therefore seems most likely to have been your tenant.... Read More

John Wagstaffe, Solicitor, Property Litigator

15:58 PM, 11th October 2013
About 7 years ago

Return of Tenant's rent?

The deposit can only be applied to those liabilities in respect of which it is held - the tenancy agreement should set those out. Damage etc will almost certainly be one of them. Any dispute relating to the application of the deposit will be determined by the deposit protection scheme with which it is registered.

However, it is important to note that just because the deposit protection scheme rules against you and returns the deposit to the tenant, this does not prevent you from suing the tenant for any losses you have suffered.

The advance rent is simply that - a payment on account of rent which will fall due, to be applied to the liability as it arises. It is not another deposit.

The first question is, is the tenant liable to pay the rent for the rest of the term? The short answer is yes, except where he has vacated pursuant to a break clause, or when you re-take possession in order to re-let the property. Once you re-take possession, the lease comes to an end and the liability to pay rent ceases.

Assuming, then, that you establish the tenant is liable to pay you further rent, you could apply the rent advance to the rent instalments as they fall due.

But what if the there is no further rent due, could you apply the rent advance to the disrepairs? Strictly speaking you could not, as it is not held for that purpose and you should return it and then sue the tenant separately for the damage to the property. Practically speaking, though, if the tenant sued you for the return of the rent arrears, no judge is going to order that you repay it whilst the disrepair claim remains unsatisfied. In any event, if the tenant sued you, you would counterclaim for the disrepairs.

The upshot is that you should hang onto the rent advance and simply make an allowance for it in any claim you make in court.... Read More

John Wagstaffe, Solicitor, Property Litigator

17:17 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 7 years ago

Overhanging Tree Problem

The first thing to check is that the tree is not the subject of a Tree Preservation Order; if it is then there are restrictions on what you can do - unless it is actually causing damage then you are unable
to cut it.

Your basic right is to abate the nuisance by cutting the branches off at the boundary. You should offer them back to your neighbour (as they are their property) but you should not just dump them over the fence on their property - that is fly-tipping under environmental legislation.

If abating the nuisance will be a costly exercise for you then you can apply to the court for an injunction forcing your neighbour to cut the branches, and for damages in respect of any damage caused by the trees to your property. An alternative to the injunction is to arrange to cut the branches yourself  and then make a claim against your neighbour for the cost.

I suspect the council will not be interested, but if the branches are an imminent threat to health and safety then you might find a sympathetic ear.... Read More