Eviction ends in nightmare result for Sussex landlords

Landlords David and Sheila Harding found just how tricky this situation can be, when a simple eviction of their tenant Colin Gregory ended up with them unable to evict him for 90 years - with no rent increases possible in that time.

Evicting a tenant is never a pleasant situation, especially when that tenant is a friend.

Mr Gregory previously owned the property he now rents from the Harding’s for £800 a month, however after nearly a 20 year harmonious tenant-landlord relationship, the Harding’s chose to sell the £310,000 property he lived in. After Mr Gregory refused to leave, the Harding’s took him to court, where his solicitor cited a law from 1925 – to shocking effect!

The legislation stated, dating from the 1925 Property Act, stated that as Mr Gregory had initially sold the Harding’s the property at under market value, he maintained the right to live in it for the duration of his life – or 90 years. The lease can even be passed on to succeeding relatives upon his death. What’s more, the Harding’s cannot increase the rent above the current £800 a month for the duration of this time.

There was not ability to appeal, and the judge also ordered the Harding’s to pay the £11,000 court costs. Certainly not the cut-and-dried possession result they were expecting!

Historically, there has always been plenty of legislation surrounding property – but what other centuries' old laws could you be falling foul of without even realising it?
You might think that you couldn't go wrong in giving your property a good, thorough clean before handing over the keys? Well, as long as you're not beating dusty carpets in the streets of London after 8am, you should be fine! Section 60 (3) of the Metropolitan Police Act, 1829, made it an offence to do this, and you could find yourself with a £200 fine. 'No problem', you think, 'I’ll Hoover instead.' Well, be aware that hoover-ing between the hours of 6pm and 8am on a weekday or 1pm and 8am on a Saturday or on a Sunday is also a no-no.

It seems landlords in the capital are copping the worst of the outdated legislation. If you're having to carry out any upgrades to your property in London, there's some tricky regulations to overcome. You could be hit with a £500 fine if you dreamed of doing anything as outlandish as carrying a plank of wood across a pavement! Awkward, when it comes to unloading a car...

Gardening comes with its own issues, although there's nothing antiquated about this legislation. Whilst it can be frustrating when neighbouring properties trees overhang outside space, lopping off the branches and throwing them back into the neighbouring garden is fly-tipping, and can carry hefty fines.

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