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The Leasehold Reform (Amendment) Act 2014 amends the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (‘the 1993 Act’) to provide that where notices are served under s13 (notice by qualifying tenants of claim  to exercise right of collective enfranchisement) and s42 of the 1993 Act (notice by qualifying tenants of claim to exercise right to a lease extension) these notices are no longer required to be signed personally by a leasehold tenant (‘leaseholder’) but may be signed on a leaseholder’s behalf.

Previously, notices under both of these sections had to be signed by the leaseholder personally and could not be signed by a person acting under a Power of Attorney or under the direction of the Court of Protection. The amendment allows a person such as a solicitor or relative to sign notices on a leaseholder’s behalf.

The policy rationale for the amendment is to assist – among others – those physically disabled, seriously ill or mentally incapacitated leaseholders unable to benefit from the exercise of their rights. This includes those elderly or disabled leaseholders who are capable of deciding that they would like to take part in collective enfranchisement or extend their lease but have been unable to exercise these rights as they are physically unable to sign the notice. Such leaseholders may have previously been substantially financially disadvantaged relative to able-bodied leaseholders, as a result of not being able to exercise their rights under these sections. The Act could also assist leaseholders living abroad who need to sign these notices.

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