Just a brief note.
There have been disputes in the past over whether the Unfair Contract Terms Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regls, and similar consumer legislation applied to residential leases, although the majority opinion was that it almost certainly did. Well this has now been put beyond all doubt by the ECJ’s recent decision in Brusse & Gerabito v Jahani BV – a preliminary determination in an appeal from the Netherlands. It was published on 30.5.13.
The court ruled that not only does consumer protection legislation apply to residential leases, when the landlord is a business and the tenants are not dealing by way of business, but that a court is obliged to investigate the point on its own motion if it arises, even if it is not argued by the parties. Furthermore, if it decides that a penalty is unfair it must disallow it, and cannot just reduce the amount.
So if you are a landlord don’t think that just because something is set out in the lease it is going to be enforceable. And if you are a tenant then you have another weapon in your armoury, provided that you can afford to take up arms.