Insights Commercial Property Law – Key Considerations (October 2023)


Our October 2023 summary of the latest developments in Property law and practice is as follows:

The Business and Planning Act 2020 introduced provisions during the coronavirus pandemic allowed businesses selling food or drink to quickly obtain authorisation from the local authority for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the highway adjacent to their premises (i.e., a pavement licence). The Business and Planning Act 2020 (Pavement Licences) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI 2023/900) have extended the enabling powers for a further twelve months to 30th September 2024.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is consulting on changes to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. A number of changes are proposed including widening the conditions for existing permitted development rights which currently allow for up to 1500 square metres of commercial, business or service use in high streets and town centres to change use to residential and widening permitted development rights for extensions or alterations to a commercial, business or service establishment. The consultation runs until 25 September 2023.

Further amendments have been made to the regulations underpinning the leaseholder protection provisions of Schedule 8 of the Building Safety Act 2022. There are several protections available under Schedule 8 including, under paragraph 3 of Schedule 8, that no service charge is payable in relation to relevant defects if the lease is a qualifying lease and the landlord under the lease at the qualifying time (14 February 2022) met the ‘contribution condition’ (a determination of the net worth of the relevant landlord’s group of companies and setting this out in a ‘Landlord’s Certificate.’)

The applicable regulations are amended by The Building Safety (Leaseholder Protections etc.) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI 2023/895).  In force from 5 August 2023, the amendment regulations append as a schedule a new form of Landlord Certificate. In addition, the amendment regulations introduce a new circumstance in which a Landlord Certificate must be provided; namely, within four weeks of a landlord becoming aware of a new Leaseholder Deed of Certificate (setting out if they have a ‘Qualifying Lease’ in the same building, which contains information that was not included in a previous Landlord Certificate.