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Leaseholders who work from home warned they could face legal action | Money

by Ozva Admin

Some people who work from home or run a business from their apartment or home could face legal action for violating the terms of their property’s lease, according to a legal scholar.

During the pandemic, the number of people working from home skyrocketed, with many continuing to operate from their flats and houses after Covid restrictions were lifted.

Some people want to use your property for Airbnb rentals they have already been warned about the risk of legal action if the lease, which dictates the use of their house, prevents it.

Now some of those who work for their employer or operate a business from home, which could include people who run a nail bar, music teachers, and even builders who stock building materials, could face legal challenges.

Leases often contain restrictive clauses; for example, they may say that the property can only be used as a residence for a single family or that it cannot be used to run a business.

Michael Poulsom, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University School of Law, says it is likely to be only a matter of time before the owners launch litigation to stop or restrict the practice.

“In England and Wales, covenants prohibiting the use of residential property ‘for the purpose of trade or business’, ‘other than as a single private dwelling house’ are very common on both land and leasehold titles, and whether to work at home breaches those conventions remains largely unresolved,” he says.

Poulsom estimates that half of the properties in England and Wales could have these restrictive covenants that prevent commercial use.

“This is of particular concern to lease owners, against whom there is the potential for the landlord to give up the lease.”

While landlords may have ignored people who violated lease terms during the pandemic, Poulsom suggests this may now change and lead to legal action.

Failure to comply with the terms of the lease can have serious consequences for the resident. This can start with notice being given, all the way to court action to forfeit the lease, which actually means the lease is terminated and the property is forfeited.

“I think if you have someone sitting in front of a laptop at the kitchen table, doing what they would normally do in their office, the chances of the landlord clamping down are probably pretty slim,” he says.

“Once you get into a situation where people are doing something that is public-facing, with the result that customers start showing up on the property or the amount of traffic on the street increases, the commercial activity begins. to be more visible, more intrusive. . I think that’s potentially a risk. [for legal action].”

Some people looking to buy or use a property like Airbnb, and who had assumed they might be able to rent it on a short-term basis, have discovered that this is not allowed.

The rental contracts of many flats usually contain small print that, for example, can prevent them from being rented for periods of less than six months. Renting them despite these rules increases the risk of legal action. Some will not realize this, or they may decide to move on and hope for the best.

In the case of a block of flats, the owner may be represented by a management company. Renting an apartment for a short period could violate the clauses that restrict its use only to a private residence.

The best advice in all cases is to review the lease and paperwork very carefully. If necessary, consult with the landlord, management company, or managing agent, and consider obtaining legal advice.

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