Real Estate know how

Government publishes new plans on business energy and carbon reporting

Details have emerged this month on what may replace the unpopular CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (“CRC”). Abolition of the CRC from 2019 Under the CRC, companies consuming significant amounts of electricity must report their energy consumption to the Government through purchase of allowances. Such companies are also required to collate data on their energy use […]


How secure is a protected tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954?

Earlier this summer, an important judgment concerning the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“the 1954 Act”) was handed down by Mr Justice Jay. The case of S Franses Ltd v The Cavendish Hotel (London) Ltd [2017] EWHC 1670 QB was an appeal from the County Court in Central London […]

What happens if you fail to register your new lease?

New leases for seven years or more must be registered at the Land Registry, normally by the Tenant, and within 2 months of completion. But what happens if you don’t? It rather depends on whether your landlord’s title is registered or not. The Landlord’s title is unregistered Where the Landlord’s title is unregistered, the new […]


Taking care of the (fresh) evidence

This article first appeared in the Estates Gazette. The case of Clear Call Limited – v – Central London Investments Limited [2016] EWCA Civ 1231 [2017] provides further guidance of the application of the Ladd – v – Marshall ([1954] EWCA Civ 1) test for the submission of new evidence in a case where judgment has […]

The rights skills for the job?

This article first appeared in Estates Gazette, 22nd July 2017. Many employers will be paying additional sums by way of the apprenticeship levy that came into effect on 6 April 2017. Some savvy property sector employers will already be exploring ways in which these sums (plus more) can be recouped by their businesses. Apprenticeships are […]


New rules to protect pubs from demolition or their conversion to shops and other retail uses recently come into effect…

For those of you amenable to a drink or two at your local pub from time to time, this will come as good news! As from 23 May 2017, permitted development rights to demolish pubs have ceased and there are no longer rights to demolish drinking establishments with expanded food provision, either. Recent Amendments to […]

Residential Service Charge consultation – developers beware!

It is relatively widely known that landlords of residential blocks must consult their tenants before they can recover (in full) certain items through the service charge regime. For example, if they wish to carry out a substantial redecoration of the exterior of the block. But that’s once the leases are in place, right? Unfortunately it’s […]


Japanese knotweed – a growing nuisance

Viewed as an attractive ornamental garden plant when initially introduced to the UK in Victorian times, Japanese knotweed is now regarded as something much more sinister. Unusually aggressive, highly invasive, capable of regenerating from the smallest piece of rhizome, difficult and expensive to eradicate … It’s destructive nature (being capable of penetrating tarmac, building foundations […]

Service Charge recovery: an unusual but salutary lesson

In the case of Sheffield City Council v Oliver the Court of Appeal looked at the impact of third party contributions – in this instance Government funding – on service charge recovery. Both landlords and tenants should take note, as the principles go beyond the specific facts of the case. Most of the flats within the […]


Sweeping up the legal costs

Leases of residential property, flats particularly, commonly contain obligations on the part of the landlord to maintain and keep in repair the structure of the building and common parts and to recover the expenditure through service charge contributions from the individual tenants. Often the lease will contain a list of other services to be provided […]

Proprietary estoppel: family feuds and farming fall out

Proprietary estoppel is an equitable doctrine which allows the court to prevent a legal owner of property (usually land) from asserting their strict legal rights, when it would be unfair to allow them to do so. This doctrine often arises in cases of family feuds, where informal and undocumented arrangements relating to property rights go […]


Employment status

Given the recent high profile cases involving Uber, CitySprint and the like, the true employment status of purportedly “self-employed” individuals has come under the spotlight. So what is genuine self-employment and what is a worker or an employee? And why does it matter? What are the categories of employment status? There are three categories of […]

Serving notice – still not as simple as it sounds!

The serving of notices sometimes feels more akin to bomb disposal, than posting a letter. The slightest wrong turn can potentially prove fatal! Unfortunately that has only been compounded by a recent Scottish case. Courts have generally taken a strict approach to the contractual or statutory requirements governing the form and service of notices. The safety nets they […]


Beware the fake seller

To quote from the Nazi dentist played by Laurence Olivier in the movie Marathon Man; “Is it safe?”; well for a buyer’s solicitor it may not be if there is a fake seller. The judgment in Dreamvar (UK) Limited v. Mishcon de Reya is controversial, and will almost certainly be appealed, but it tells us […]

Employment law update

Major developments in employment law are expected to take place in 2017, Katee Dias outlines the main changes. Employment Tribunal Fees Fees were introduced in 2013 for all Employment Tribunal claims. However, the lawfulness of this was questioned and the latest hearing in the long running legal challenge by UNISON is expected to be heard […]


Recent ruling highlights different disclosure requirements for accountants and solicitors

Question: what is the extent of solicitors’ duty of disclosure, and in particular is there a duty to disclose information gained from acting for one client to another? The decision in Harlequin Property (SVG) Limited v Wilkins Kennedy (a Firm) [2016] EWHC 3188 (TCC) held that accountants do not owe such a duty and in […]

Lessons for the food and restaurant trade from the Fabric case

The high profile closure of Fabric, and recent resolution to enable it to re-open, may seem a far cry from the average retail food offering. Much of it was! However, there are some important points to take on board, which are applicable more widely. First of all, know your permitted hours and conditions. All those […]


Residence Nil-Rate Band: the basics

The estate of an individual who dies on or after 6 April 2017 may qualify for an increased tax-free amount, the residence nil-rate band (RNRB), if their estate includes an interest in a home which is being left to their direct descendants. This is in addition to the existing nil rate band (NRB) of £325,000 […]

Compounding the felony

The hidden, devastating, effects of compound interest have been considered in a previous GD Online article (Extreme Service Charge; June 2015) concerning service charge payments in residential leases of holiday chalets on the Gower peninsula. Some of the leases, granted in the early 1970s for terms of 99 years, reserved a fixed annual service charge,  […]


Right to rent

This article follows on from our earlier update in January of this year on the ‘right to rent’ checks introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 (see here for a recap of these). From 1 December 2016, a number of the provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 (the “2016 Act”) come into force. Perhaps the most […]

The power of the spoken word… to vary a lease

It is not uncommon in the commercial property world for arrangements to be made to re-schedule or change the pattern of rent payments. When it comes to short leases and the like, a recent Court of Appeal case has highlighted the need for care when making those arrangements orally. In MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited […]


Recent developments in the construction insurance market: additional protections for consultants, contractors and third parties?

There is a new dawn for construction insurance following introduction of two Acts of Parliament in August 2016. With the introduction of the Insurance Act 2015 (“IA 2015”) and Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 (“TPRAIA 2010”), English insurance law has undergone the most significant development since the inaugural Marine Insurance Act 1906 (“MIA […]

Short term gain, long term pain: the risks of advertising your property for short term lettings

In a recent article, we highlighted the potential pitfalls of using popular vehicles such as Airbnb to sublet your property and the problems which you may face unwittingly should you choose to rent out your property on a short term basis (see http://gdknowledge.co.uk/airbnb-first-timer-consider-the-legal-implications-first/). In recent times, the Airbnb phenomenon has seen a marked increased in […]


Landlords’ works and the impact on tenants

Commercial leases often reserve to the Landlord the right to carry out repairs to adjoining premises. At times, this right may conflict with the Tenant’s right to enjoy the demised premises under the Landlord’s covenant for quiet enjoyment. There is also an implied covenant by the Landlord not to derogate from grant – put another way, a […]

SDLT higher rates: a private client perspective

In last year’s Autumn statement, the government unveiled its plans to increase the rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) charged on purchases of “additional residential properties” e.g. second homes or buy to let properties. These changes came into effect on 1 April 2016, and apply to completions taking place on or after this date. […]


Overall housing supply and economic performance is key to understanding the post-Brexit property market

We already reported a marked cooling in the volume of residential property transactions prior to the referendum. In the immediate aftermath of the shock result whilst the dust attempts to settle, many commentators appear to agree that it is still too early to say what the effect of Brexit will have on the property sector, […]

Airbnb first-timer? Consider the legal implications first

Airbnb is a modern phenomenon. Its cultural impact has been to create an industry out of renting your own home to strangers on a short-term basis. Many people now view it as a complete alternative to hotels. But what are the legal implications? Over the summer months, increasing numbers of people will be taking holidays […]


Update: Foreign companies who own UK property are to be subject to new transparency measures

On 12 May 2016, ahead of the anti-corruption summit in London, David Cameron announced proposals for legislative reforms which will introduce a new public register revealing the “true owners” of UK property bought by foreign companies. This new register constitutes just one of a number of measures aimed at tackling money laundering, as London tries […]

Property market update: stamp duty changes and Brexit

We have not been surprised to witness a significant slowdown in the housing market following the buy-to-let rush to complete on transactions before the 31 March deadline on stamp duty rises for second homes. The UK’s largest lender, Halifax, reported that house prices had dropped by 0.8% during April as buy-to let purchasers practically vanished […]


Landlords beware: new requirements for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (“ASTs”)

The implementation of new legislation has imposed important obligations on landlords of residential property. Failure to comply with these requirements could have serious consequences. This checklist is designed to provide a summary of the main steps which landlords need to ensure they consider before letting out their property under an AST: Check whether the property is […]

Negotiating a settlement: without prejudice privilege

All disputes can get messy and landlord and tenant disputes are no different.  Where the right to occupy a property is critical, either for business or residential purposes, the stakes are high for both sides.  Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of a case, litigation can be stressful and costly and sometimes settling a dispute is […]


Residential Stamp Duty Land Tax increases

In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that higher rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) would be introduced for purchases of “additional residential properties”. The measure is intended to re-focus the housing sector towards low-cost home ownership for first-time buyers. For purchases after 1 April 2016 an additional rate of 3% […]

Private landlords and agents – right to rent checks from 1st February 2016

The Immigration Act 2014 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2016 From 1 February 2016, all private residential landlords in England must carry out checks on prospective tenants to ensure their immigration status affords them the right to rent a property in England.  The checks must be carried out within 28 days before the start of the […]


Flooded? Hints about making an effective insurance claim

A flooded home is a horrible experience. But you have been paying your insurer to cover you against just such a possibility. So you should receive financial and other assistance in putting your property back in order. At least that’s the theory. In the majority of cases, it will also be the outcome. However, a […]

Battle over Banksy: High Court decision on landlord and tenant dispute

In September, the High Court handed down summary judgment in Creative Foundation v Dreamland Leisure Ltd. The case concerned the ownership of a mural. Mr Justice Arnold’s judgment has implications for future landlord and tenant disputes. Background On 28 September 2014 during the Folkestone Triennial, the famous graffiti artist Banksy spray-painted “Art Buff”, a graffiti […]


The limitations of forfeiture

Conceptually forfeiture is perhaps the landlord’s ultimate sanction against tenants who do not comply fully with the terms of their lease.  And from the tenants’ side, a serious motivator to comply! However, a recent Court of Appeal case has highlighted how tricky it can in fact be to deploy. The case concerned a tenant that had […]

Break clauses – paying rent in advance: no change given

Most commercial leases reserve an annual rent and express it to be payable in advance by equal quarterly payments on the usual quarter days. The quarter days are 25th March (Lady Day), 24th June (Midsummer’s Day), 29th September (Michaelmas Day) and 25th December    (no prizes). It is also a common condition of a break clause […]


Challenging a residential service charge – should tenants pay first and dispute later?

Introduction Residential tenants who wish to challenge a service charge when it is demanded are faced with an awkward decision. They can either withhold payment of a service charge from the landlord whilst they try to resolve the matter, or choose to make the payment anyway and then challenge it afterwards. As unpalatable as it may […]

Local searches: if the council gets the replies wrong

Property buyers, particular if intending to develop, will often rely on the results of a Local Search, an essential component of the due diligence process on acquisition. In particular planning history and constraints and highways aspects are important. The Local Search is relied on as to the information it provides completely as unlike replies to enquiries or […]


New Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations set off alarm bells

As of 1 October 2015, it is compulsory for all private residential landlords to ensure that their rented properties are fitted with smoke alarms and, where appropriate, carbon monoxide detectors.  If landlords fail to comply, they risk facing a fine of up to £5,000. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into […]

Commercial Real Estate: What can a Landlord do if a Tenant fails to pay rent?

There are a range of remedies available to landlords of commercial properties where the tenant has stopped paying rent. Below is a brief summary of options that may be appropriate in the circumstances. Rent Deposit Drawdown If a deposit has been received from the tenant at the start of the lease, a landlord may be […]


New prescribed form of Section 21 Notice

In a previous article we reported on the changes to the regime for ending an assured shorthold tenancy as introduced by the Deregulation Bill, which received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and so is now the Deregulation Act 2015. http://gdknowledge.co.uk/deregulation/ As reported at the time, certain provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015 relate specifically […]

Extreme service charges

In a recent decision of the Supreme Court, Arnold v Britton [2015] UKSC36, the occupiers of some of the holiday chalets at the Oxwich Leisure Park, on the Gower peninsula, lost their appeal to have their leases read in such a way so as to avoid payment of exorbitant service charge. Some of the leases, […]


Significant changes to company law in the UK, Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

The government’s aim in introducing the Act is to enable small businesses to innovate, grow and compete. The hope is also that internationally it will endorse the UK as a trusted and fair place to do business. The Act received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and is set to have a significant impact on […]

Counterclaim struck out but allowed to stand as a Defence

In the recent case of Cockell v Holton (No 2) [2015] EWHC 1117 (TCC), which was a claim arising out of works to a listed building following a fire, the Judge refused to grant the Defendant permission to pursue a significant Counterclaim, but allowed him to amend his Defence to include the allegations contained in […]


Private residential landlords: do you need a licence?

You are a private residential landlord renting out a property in a “selective licensing” area – did you know that you could face a fine of £20,000 and be ordered to pay back rent to your tenants if you don’t have a licence? Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities have powers to introduce “selective […]

Rent payable in advance

Most commercial leases contain a requirement for the tenant to pay the annual rent by equal quarterly payments in advance. The Quarter Days being 25th March (Lady Day), 24th June (Midsummer’s Day), 29th September (Michaelmas Day) and 25th December (no prizes). During the term of the lease the payments fall due on the quarter day […]


Top 5 New Year resolutions for HR practitioners

***** Stop Press: Katee Dias was recognised as a “Star Legal Writer” by the The Lawyer for this article. ***** Katee Dias Employment Lawyer Goodman Derrick Top Five HR Resolutions As January is often seen as the time for instigating change, we thought it would be helpful to consider some possible New Year resolutions for those of […]

Residential Property and Capital Gains Tax: Changes Afoot for Non-UK Residents and Multiple Home Owners

Capital Gains Tax has found itself in the spotlight in recent weeks, owing to two significant changes to the CGT and residential property landscape. Firstly, the government has moved to limit the final period exemption that allowed those owning more than one residential property to reduce CGT on second homes. Secondly, looking forward, plans to extend the CGT regime to non-UK residents selling UK residential property appear to be going ahead, and are set to be in force from April 2015. We take a look at these reforms in more detail.


A Break for Landlords – Recent Court of Appeal Decision Restores Certainty

The Court of Appeal has overturned the decision of the High Court relating to the refund of rents for a period after a break option has been exercised.

Goodman Derrick’s Construction Partners Attend the Inaugural Conference of The Peruvian Society of Construction Law

The Peruvian Society of Construction Law (“SCL”) held its inaugural conference at the Universidad Del Pacifico in Lima on 9th and 10th April 2014. The SCL has not been long constituted in Peru and so it was gratifying that some 300 delegates attended the Conference. Goodman Derrick partners John Wright and Richard Bailey attended; Richard is the current Chairman of SCL UK and Vice President of the European Society of Construction Law.


Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012 Comes into Operation in Malaysia

Adjudication is a well established method of resolving disputes in the construction field in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Malaysia have followed this lead by passing the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012 (“CIPAA”). CIPAA is now in force and John Wright’s briefing is available by clicking here. John is a Construction Partner at Goodman Derrick with specialist knowledge and experience of international construction arbitration.

CRAR: A New System For The Recovery of Commercial Property Rent Arrears Is Now In Force

Background As of 6 April 2014 and as part of wider reforms introduced by the Government the ancient common law right of distress for rent has now been abolished and replaced by a new statutory procedure known as Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery or CRAR. The common law regime of distress was a self-help remedy previously […]


15% Higher Stamp Duty Rate For Companies Buying Residential Properties Now Kicks In At £500,000

The Chancellor’s 2014 Budget, announced on 19 March 2014, set out a number of changes and extensions to the post-2012 stamp duty land tax (“SDLT”) regime. Background The 15% SDLT rate was initially introduced in April 2012 and applied where a company bought a ‘single dwelling’ property for over £2 million. The Chancellor was clear […]

New Tax Rules for LLP Members

The Government has issued draft anti-avoidance legislation to be included within the Finance Bill 2014, which overrides the current presumption that a member of an LLP is self-employed for tax purposes and is not an employee. This is in response to HMRC concerns that individual members of LLP’s are benefiting from being treated as self-employed for tax purposes, in circumstances where those members are effectively in the position of an employee.


Should Merger Control Be Repatriated To The UK (And All Other Member States)?

Since 2012, the Government has been conducting an audit of EU powers (or “competences” to use the jargon) with a view to seeking whether their repatriation to the UK in appropriate cases.  In a recent consultation, it has got round to asking interested parties on about the current division of regulatory responsibilities between Brussels and […]

Potential Pitfalls of Digging Deep

Subterranean excavations may be an increasingly popular method of extending a property, but such developments also carry potential pitfalls. Planning controls do not usually apply to a development that does not affect the external appearance of a property, but means of redress still exist for neighbours who are adversely affected by basement excavation works, whether […]


A Review of Employment Law Reform in 2013 and 2014

As with 2013, there will be no rest for employment law advisers, employers and HR practitioners in 2014, with further legislative change on the agenda.  Many of the changes hail from the government’s Red Tape Challenge following its publication of the report “Progress on Reform” on 14 March 2013, which detailed the intended timetable for […]

RICS Beyond Retail

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published an Information Note entitled ‘High Streets – Beyond Retail’, which looks at the decline of retailing on the High Street and in town centres and proposes possible solutions to help reverse the negative trend. Article Summary The aim of the Information Note is to provide guidance […]


domain-name.revolution?

In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, the professional body for domain name registration) launched the new generic top level domain (gTLD) programme to permit the introduction of new top level domains on the internet. The move, which has attracted much publicity, will allow web addresses to end in a whole range of new domains (such as .app, .sport, .accountant) beyond the likes of .com, .co.uk and .net.

Green and Pleasant Land

James Daglish assesses the progress of green leases.


Important Changes to English Litigation Costs – Part 2 (Costs Management)

New rules on costs management are intended to benefit litigants by ensuring that the legal costs of fighting a case are proportionate to the issues in dispute. On the face of it this sounds like it must be a positive step, however the reality is that the changes may not be as beneficial as would initially appear to be the case.

Agency Workers – Tribunal Decides “Swedish Derogation” Lawful for Maintaining Pay Difference between Permanent and Agency Workers

An Employment Tribunal has decided that a temporary work agency which transferred a group of agency workers off zero hours contracts onto guaranteed hours contracts did in fact comply with the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 and that the Swedish Derogation could be relied upon [Bray and others v Monarch Personnel Refuelling (UK) Ltd ET/1801581/12 and others].


Reorganising the Regulation of Financial Services in the UK: The Financial Services Act 2012

1st April sees the introduction of a new structure for the regulation of financial services in the UK. Is its rolling out on April Fools’ Day just a bit of quirky Britishness or a true indication that we would be fooling ourselves in thinking that a mere re-organisation could prevent a repeat of the banking and financial crisis?

Rights to Light – Consultation Paper Published by Law Commission

A consultation paper has recently been published relating to rights to light. This article looks at the key recommendations made and considers the possible effects of any changes.


Extension of Permitted Development Rights

At the end of last month the Government announced a number of changes to permitted development rights, including allowing the change of use from offices (Class B1(a)) to residential (Class C3) without the need for planning permission. The intention of the new scheme is to make best use of existing developed sites and facilitate speedier conversion of redundant office space into desirable residential accommodation.

Validity of Post-Acquisition Restrictive Covenants

In a recent case, the Court considered the issue of whether covenants in a share purchase agreement amounted to penalties and whether restrictions were an unreasonable restraint of trade.


Important Changes to English Litigation Costs – Part 1

In Shakespeare’s time, lawyers adopted a “no fee, no breath” approach. In spite of the still widely held view that lawyers will do anything for money and nothing without it, “no win, no fee” arrangements have become commonplace in recent years in English litigation. However, a series of controversial changes are shortly to be introduced which, depending on one’s viewpoint, may reduce access to justice for some, whilst increasing it for others and place some losing parties in a fairer position, but some in a worse one. Jonathan Haydn-Williams explains the current position and the imminent changes.

Executive Remuneration: Changes in 2013

There are a number of company law proposals expected to be implemented in 2013. These include reforms relating to executive remuneration and the introduction of the new employee-owner status


Employment Law – What to Expect in 2013

The Government has a wide variety of new legislation currently going through Parliament, which it intends to bring into force next year. This should make for a very interesting and challenging 2013 in the employment and discrimination arena

Excessive Director Remuneration

Court of Appeal overturns High Court Decision on Unfair Prejudice


Property Update: Coming up in 2013

The government wants to show that it is serious about stimulating the economy and spearheading the necessary growth to drag the country out of recession. It remains to be seen whether the liberalisation of planning laws will kickstart economic activity, but the climate certainly appears to be shifting in favour of allowing development. As a result, it is more important than ever that both developers and residents are aware of the forthcoming changes to the law, and how they will be affected

Competing Holiday Requests

Many staff will want time off over Christmas, and it’s not always possible to accommodate every request. So its important to ensure you have a sensible system for deciding who get to take holiday.


Give Me a Break Clause!

Break clauses and their exercise continue to cause headaches.

Rules on Employee Rest

Read here for a summary of the rules regarding rest breaks that should be given to workers.


The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (“LASPO”) received royal assent on 1 May 2012. The primary purpose of the bill was to reform the civil litigation costs and funding framework, but a number of other changes were also included which may have wide reaching consequences for businesses in England & Wales and their directors and senior officers.

Criminal Sanctions for Squatting

After much debate, the offence of squatting has entered the statute books.


Chancel Repair Liability Update

What is the position as regards chancel repair liability after 12 October 2013?