Monday, 6 August 2012

A lucrative roof over your head?

The Olympics have officially arrived!  In the UK we love athletics!  Or that is what the media would have us think.  But, to me, their attempts to convince us that people in this country actually care about athletics fly in the face of all recognised research (i.e. a quick poll amongst my friends and reports that the UK is the most obese nation in Europe).  People seem more concerned with the traffic problems the Games will cause…    

However, all jokes aside, there is no denying that the deluge of tourists pouring into the nation’s capital will bring a massive economic benefit.  Some people have been quick in seeking to capitalise on this opportunity. 

The BBC reported in May 2012 that many tenants in east London were being evicted from their homes with little or no notice by their unscrupulous landlords in readiness for wealthy tourists seeking accommodation close to the Olympic arena. Properties typically rented for £350 per week were being marketed for £6,000 per week.

Of course this behaviour is deplorable and potentially illegal.  Evicting a tenant without proper notice – or harassing tenants – can lead to a maximum custodial sentence of 2 years.  It is important for both the tenant and the landlord that their respective rights are properly protected and a well drafted tenancy agreement or lease will ensure this is the case.  The residential property group here at B P Collins LLP can provide bespoke leases for its clients and advise on all of the associated issues, including the procedure under the Housing Act 1988.

Commercial tenants may also want to participate in similar, less condemnable, behaviour by subletting their properties to retailers for the duration of the Games.  The permission of the landlord may be needed (to avoid forfeiture of the lease or a claim for damages) but often, if it is needed, consent cannot be unreasonably withheld and the activity can prove lucrative for a tenant.  The commercial property group at B P Collins LLP has much experience on advising on short term leases, both inclusive of rent or those based on turnover rent, and on licences to occupy on a short term basis.

Whether a commercial or residential premises owner, make sure you play fair during the Games this summer.

Posted by Matthew Crockford, trainee in the property practice.

Matthew Crockford -

Matthew started his training contract with B P Collins LLP in January 2012. He graduated in 2010 from The University of East Anglia with a 2:1 (Hons) in Law before moving on to the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice to study the LPC, achieving a Distinction. In his spare time Matthew enjoys playing football (mostly 5-a-side) and watching Tottenham Hotspur FC whenever possible.  Interestingly he used to be in a heavy metal band, but grew out of the idea!

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