Commoner's corner #Grazingisgood
Kerry Dovey | 20.03.2019
02.04.2018 Sarah Jordan
Many common law tenancies contain a little known or understood loophole that can cause a huge headache for Estate and landowning clients. Having personally come across this issue twice in the last year alone, below I have outlined what you need to know.
Estates and landowners regularly grant written common law tenancies ‘for life’ to tenants when they retire from a job on an Estate under a service contract. However, there appears to be a loophole that landowners should be aware of, especially now life expectancy is on the up.
A tenant under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 of a house will qualify for the right to buy the freehold in the following circumstances:
However, if the tenancy fulfils certain requirements it is not considered a long tenancy. These requirements include:
(The terms and conditions for the termination and notice provisions of common law tenancies already in place would need to be properly and professionally scrutinised to check these points)
Common law tenancies drafted ‘for life’ tend to satisfy the right to buy test if a tenant is still in occupation after 21 years and the tenant obtains some decent legal advice on his or her rights.
Given that Estates and landowners regularly grant written common law tenancies ‘for life’ to tenants when they retire from their work on an Estate under a service contract, this is the loophole that Estates and landowners should be aware of.
In practice, this loophole is little-known. However, some tenants have taken advantage of it after receiving sound legal advice.