Incoming landlord’s liability for pre-existing breaches
Incoming landlord’s liability for pre-existing breaches

The following Property Disputes practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Incoming landlord’s liability for pre-existing breaches
  • Landlord’s repairing obligations
  • Arrears
  • Tenant’s right to set-off

As from completion, an incoming landlord is:

  1. (in the case of an ‘old’ tenancy ie granted pre-1 January 1996) bound by all landlord covenants that have ‘reference to the subject matter’ of the lease, and

  2. (in the case of a ‘new’ tenancy, ie granted on or after 1 January 1996) bound by all landlord covenants except those that:

    1. immediately before the assignment did not bind the seller

    2. are expressed to be personal to any other person, or

    3. are unenforceable for want of registration under the Land Registration Act 2002 or the Land Charges Act 1972

Incoming landlords are not directly liable for breaches of landlord covenants committed before completion. For old tenancies this proposition is derived from case law. For new tenancies, section 23(1) of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 expressly provides that assignees have no liability in relation to any time falling before the assignment.

However, purchasing a property with outstanding breaches of landlord covenants may have adverse consequences for the incoming landlord. Assessing whether there are any outstanding breaches is an essential part of th

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