De-regulate Fireworks Law

The law on fireworks seems unnecessarily restrictive and should be relaxed.  Fireworks should be able to be sold year around and restrictions on things like loudness removed.

Why is this idea important?

The law on fireworks seems unnecessarily restrictive and should be relaxed.  Fireworks should be able to be sold year around and restrictions on things like loudness removed.

Change Housing Act 1996 “Right of First Refusal”

Law Relating to This Matter

The Housing Act 1996 inserted into the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987 Part 1 was intended to stop the transfer of substantial ownership in a building ("A Relevant Disposal") from taking place without the knowledge and interest of the tenants of the building.  It was further amended in the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002.  The Act allows only separate non relevant disposals to different parties to occur without notification.  It is recognised as a badly drafted Act in which a huge loophole exists for unscrupulous parties to circumvent the law in order to achieve precisely what the Act was intended to avoid.

Example:

28 Finchley Road, Westcliff-on-Sea comprises 4 flats.  The owner occupiers with qualifying long leases were informed retrospectively that the freehold of the building had been transferred.  They should have received Section 5 Notices under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987.  The Landlord avoided this by allowing Superior Leases to be granted to separate companies over each flat thereby creating a vehicle to avoid a "Relevant Disposal" in law.  However to the tenants it was a relevant disposal as all companies are owned by the same family group members.  The Landlord then sent the Section 5 Notices to the newly created Superior tenant companies who accepted that a sale of the freehold would occur.  The freehold was then purchased by another company in the family group.

The wording needs to change so that common interests cannot be separated to create a sham non relevant disposal to the disadvantage of occupying long leaseholders.  Counsel says no law has been broken!

John Lee  

Why is this idea important?

Law Relating to This Matter

The Housing Act 1996 inserted into the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987 Part 1 was intended to stop the transfer of substantial ownership in a building ("A Relevant Disposal") from taking place without the knowledge and interest of the tenants of the building.  It was further amended in the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002.  The Act allows only separate non relevant disposals to different parties to occur without notification.  It is recognised as a badly drafted Act in which a huge loophole exists for unscrupulous parties to circumvent the law in order to achieve precisely what the Act was intended to avoid.

Example:

28 Finchley Road, Westcliff-on-Sea comprises 4 flats.  The owner occupiers with qualifying long leases were informed retrospectively that the freehold of the building had been transferred.  They should have received Section 5 Notices under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987.  The Landlord avoided this by allowing Superior Leases to be granted to separate companies over each flat thereby creating a vehicle to avoid a "Relevant Disposal" in law.  However to the tenants it was a relevant disposal as all companies are owned by the same family group members.  The Landlord then sent the Section 5 Notices to the newly created Superior tenant companies who accepted that a sale of the freehold would occur.  The freehold was then purchased by another company in the family group.

The wording needs to change so that common interests cannot be separated to create a sham non relevant disposal to the disadvantage of occupying long leaseholders.  Counsel says no law has been broken!

John Lee  

Automatic Renewals and The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977

My suggestion is an amendment to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, to make a subscription that renews automatically (motor insurance policy, anti virus subscriptions, book clubs, etc., automatically unenforceable.

As the law stands, it is quite legal for a company to hide, within its terms and conditions, a clause that allows it to renew a subscription and charge a customer for another year’s subscription, without actually inviting the customer to renew.

Others may mention it at the time the contract is entered into, But at the end of the year, the customer may have forgotten, or doesn’t wish for it to be renewed, and has the devil of a job cancelling and obtaining a refund.

My argument is that it effectively flies in the face of the judgement in Felthouse v Bindley 1862: i.e. that one cannot impose an obligation on another to reject one's offer. In that respect, I believe that the any such contract term – hidden or not – is – or at least should be – judged unfair per se.

The Unfair Terms In Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 later gave some protection against this practice in that it prevents renewals where someone is not given reasonable opportunity to prevent the renewal. But one may be away on holiday, or in hospital, for instance, when the notification arrives, nor is the sender obliged to provide proof of delivery. Also – ‘reasonable opportunity’ has not been defined – if indeed it ever could be. 

A change that makes it unlawful to renew without some positive act of confirmation (such as a signed reply slip or even a recorded telephone conversation) to enact renewal, would clear this up and put the consumer back in the driver's seat.

Why is this idea important?

My suggestion is an amendment to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, to make a subscription that renews automatically (motor insurance policy, anti virus subscriptions, book clubs, etc., automatically unenforceable.

As the law stands, it is quite legal for a company to hide, within its terms and conditions, a clause that allows it to renew a subscription and charge a customer for another year’s subscription, without actually inviting the customer to renew.

Others may mention it at the time the contract is entered into, But at the end of the year, the customer may have forgotten, or doesn’t wish for it to be renewed, and has the devil of a job cancelling and obtaining a refund.

My argument is that it effectively flies in the face of the judgement in Felthouse v Bindley 1862: i.e. that one cannot impose an obligation on another to reject one's offer. In that respect, I believe that the any such contract term – hidden or not – is – or at least should be – judged unfair per se.

The Unfair Terms In Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 later gave some protection against this practice in that it prevents renewals where someone is not given reasonable opportunity to prevent the renewal. But one may be away on holiday, or in hospital, for instance, when the notification arrives, nor is the sender obliged to provide proof of delivery. Also – ‘reasonable opportunity’ has not been defined – if indeed it ever could be. 

A change that makes it unlawful to renew without some positive act of confirmation (such as a signed reply slip or even a recorded telephone conversation) to enact renewal, would clear this up and put the consumer back in the driver's seat.