* Update on the below: HM Courts & Tribunals Service has now delayed the launch of the pilot scheme. It'll now commence in early 2018, but no date has been set yet. *
Last week marked the launch of a year-long pilot scheme for unopposed lease renewals (proceedings concerning the terms of a new lease protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954).
Unopposed lease renewal proceedings don’t tend to involve complex legal arguments. The disputes generally include the rent, term and tenants’ break option – but they’re often lengthy to resolve, and only a small number reach trial.
The pilot is, therefore, a welcome move. It means that all claims previously heard in the Central London County Court will be transferred to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (FTT) in London.
Hopefully, this will result in cases being determined more quickly, and being heard by judges with greater commercial property knowledge. Once proceedings are issued, everyone involved will need to negotiate pragmatically to make sure they can agree, and submit, a draft lease as soon as possible – before the directions are in place.
IIf you have any questions about the pilot scheme, please get in touch with our property litigation team. Please note that, if your property isn’t in London, the case will revert to your relevant county court and not covered by the pilot scheme.