Long leases (ie those for a term certain exceeding twenty-one years) are usually outside the scope of the Rent Act 1977 and of the Housing Act 1988. Both Acts exclude from protection leases subject to a ‘low rent’ (s.5, 1977 Act; Schedule I, para. 3, 1988 Act) and because a long lease will normally be granted (and subsequently assigned) at a premium, the rent payable therefor will be typically much lower than that chargeable on lettings falling within Chapter 16. In addition, because long leases change hands for sums which reflect their market value, there is no restriction on premiums. Nor is there any rent control, although with the low rents involved this would anyway be unnecessary. Instead, the legislation concentrates on: (a) protecting tenants against exorbitant service charges; (b) giving security of tenure where long leases come to an end by effluxion of time. (It is worth noting however that in practice relatively few long leases expire of their own accord. Usually the tenant will have negotiated a new lease with the landlord before the expiry date or will have become statutorily entitled to extend the term of the tenancy or to purchase the landlord’s interest.) (c) enabling tenants to enforce the landlord’s management obligations by giving them rights of pre-emption, and powers of compulsory purchase and the appointment of a receiver; (d) giving tenants of flats the right to take over the management of the building in which their flats are situated without having to prove shortcomings on the part of the landlord and without having to pay him compensation; (e) giving tenants the opportunity of enlarging their interests either by acquiring a new and/or longer interest or by purchasing the freehold (a process known as enfranchisement).
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- Private residential accommodation: long leases
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- Chapter 17