On October 21, 2003, the High Court ruled, in accordance with the Office of Fair Trading, that the abusive terms of the Consumer Contract Regulations (UTCCR) applied to leases and other contracts related to the transfer of real estate holdings. All the terms of a written lease must be “transparent,” i.e. they must be in clear and understandable language. Any written term should be interpreted in a way that is favourable to the tenant if its meaning is not clear.  There is nothing to prevent the inclusion of abusive clauses in a lease agreement, but an owner must be aware that just because it is included does not mean that it is not applicable. The regulations do not cover the essential conditions, which would be the case in the case of a lease: you can raise the issue of an unfair clause in court if your landlord has brought you to court and relies on a clause that you consider unfair. The judge may want to know what the trading standards have said about the fairness of the contract. The regulations contain an “indicative and non-exhaustive list” of contractual clauses that may be considered abusive. The terms quoted refer to the “consumer” and the “seller/supplier” – in the context of the leases, the consumer is the tenant and the supplier the owner. The list includes terms:  If the tenancy agreement contains a tenancy clause, the tenant has already accepted increases.
However, they must be fair. The lease is a form of consumer contract and, as such, must be done in clear and understandable language. It must not contain clauses that could be “unfair.” This means, for example, that the lease does not put you or your landlord in an unfavourable position, should not allow a party to change the terms unilaterally and without good reason, or to bind you irrevocably to conditions with which you did not have time to administer yourself. An abusive clause is not valid by law and cannot be enforced.  Arts.3 and 6 Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Starting No. 3, Transitional Provisions, Savings and Consequential Amendments) Order 2015 SI 2015/1630; Para1.2 Unfair Clauses in Consumer Contract Consulting, CMA37, Competition and Markets Authority, July 2015.