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s.10A Landlord & Tenant Act 1987

Comment 1st July 2010

This section makes it an offence not to offer lessees pre-emption rights on the disposal of a Freehold by a landlord.  Pre-emption rights are essentially a civil matter between landlords and tenants and the legislation provides excellent remedies where pre-emption rights have not been offered.  The purchaser can be forced to sell to the lessees at a price that the purchaser paid.  The purchaser ends up out of pocket for his legal expenses and other expenses of purchase including stamp duty.  That is a disincentive for any purchaser to purchase a property without ensuring that the seller has first offered pre-emption rights.

It is fundamentally wrong to enforce civil remedies with criminal sanctions.  This introduces direct state interference in the relationship of landlord and tenant.  Whereas it is the function of government to regulate such relationships by the introduction of the sort of laws that we see in the earlier sections in this act it is not the function of the state then to directly enforce by criminal sanctions.  The lessees can enforce through the County Court and that is perfectly adequate.

I am not actually aware of any prosecutions under this section which suggests that the section is just unnecessary legislation which can be removed.

Why does this matter?

It removes an unnecessary offence which seldom if at all has been prosecuted and which introduces criminal sanctions into the relationship between landlords and tenants.

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