Insights Commercial Property Law – Key Considerations (December 2023)


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

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 26th October 2023, and primarily impacts the corporate sector with indirect implications for property matters. The Act mandates additional information submission to the Registrar of Companies during the initial registration of an overseas entity and for ongoing annual updates. Notably, if the entity is the registered proprietor of qualifying estates in England and Wales, it must provide the title number for each property. Failure to comply with annual updates results in the entity losing its registered overseas entity status, invalidating its OEID number until the omission is rectified.

The Act has also extended provisions of the Land Registration Act 2022, stipulating that an overseas entity failing to fulfil updating duties or provide information to the registrar of companies is not considered a “registered overseas entity” until the breach is remedied.

The Act enhances the disclosure of beneficial owner information, now encompassing details about not only ownership of the entity, but also the person for whom the entity holds land as a nominee.

Qualifying leases

The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023, received Royal Assent on 26th October 2023. The Act introduced a new section (Section 119A) into the Building Safety Act 2022, aimed to fill a hole left by the original definition of “qualifying leases”.

Qualifying leases are leases that can qualify for many of the leaseholder protection provisions under the Building Safety Act 2022, safeguarding against service charge liabilities incurred for remedying building safety defects.

Previously, a qualifying lease required for the lease to have been granted before 14th February 2022. However, this created problems where the lease had been surrendered and re-granted. For example, where a tenant had exercised a right to obtain a lease extension after that date. The lease could no longer be considered a “qualifying lease” because the date of the regrant (extension or variation) was not granted before 14th February 2022.

However, under the new provisions a qualifying lease (even if varied or subject to surrender and regrant) will retain its qualifying status. This provision, effective for leases varied or subject to surrender and regrant before its enforcement, closes the gap created by the original time constraint.

Guidance on remediation orders

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has produced comprehensive guidance on the use of remediation orders under the Building Safety Act 2022. While explicitly intended for local authorities and fire and rescue services, the guidance provides a valuable framework for any “interested person” contemplating the application for a remediation order to address building safety defects.

The Building Safety Act allows an “interested person”, including tenants to seek remediation orders from the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. Such orders mandate a “relevant landlord” to rectify specified “relevant defects” within a “relevant building” by a stipulated deadline. The term “relevant landlord” encompasses anyone party to the lease, not just landlords or tenants, with obligations to repair or maintain aspects related to the identified defect.