Real Estate Dispute Resolution know how

When is having the last word a bad idea?

When your contract contains a clause excluding oral variations… A recent decision of the Supreme Court in Rock Advertising Limited v MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited brings an end to the long standing debate over whether clauses excluding oral variations to a written contract (so called “NOM” clauses – “no oral modification”) are valid. This […]

Cladding Q&A

As first appeared in the Financial Times on Sunday 20 May 2018. The cladding on my flat has been deemed unsafe. Who is responsible for paying for its replacement and the 24/7 fire watch that is required in the interim? The first place to look is at the terms of the lease. When it comes […]

Are you considering moving into a flat with a pet?

If so, make sure you have understood your obligations under the lease. You may have read in the news earlier this year about the High Court decision in the case of Victory Place Management Company Ltd v Kuehn & Anor [2018] EWHC 132 (Ch) which concerned the keeping a dog in a flat.  Pet issues […]

Conway v Eze: A residential conveyancing nightmare

Mr and Mrs Conway lived in a prestigious house in London, but in 2010 they decided to sell it with the intention of relocating to Cambridge. When their house first went on the market the asking price was £7m, but that reduced over time as they struggled to find a buyer. In 2015 they reduced the […]

Prescriptive Rights of Way – an easing of the evidential burden?

It is often the case that a landowner’s exercise of a right of way over a neighbour’s land is challenged and there is nothing in writing to evidence the right. This is not necessarily fatal to establishing a right of way as in certain circumstances it may be possible to establish a right of way […]

The launch of the pilot scheme for unopposed lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954

A business tenant with the benefit of a lease which has security of tenure is automatically entitled to renew after the expiry of its contractual term. Usually, if the new lease terms cannot be agreed then either the landlord or the tenant may apply to Court for the terms to be determined. Whilst the majority […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Brexit report on “justice for families, individuals and businesses”

The House of Lords EU Committee has published a report about the effect of Brexit on three EU Regulations which together ‘play an important role in facilitating the daily operation of the European legal system’. Jonathan Haydn-Williams looks at the Committee’s conclusions as to the Brussels I Regulation ‘recast’, relating to jurisdiction and judgments in civil […]

Dispute resolution in a future EU / UK trade “deal”: what are the likely costs of avoiding indefinite European Court of Justice jurisdiction?

In most commercial negotiations, discussions about dispute resolution procedures are usually left until last. The parties don’t like to poison negotiations by talking about how they resolve disputes before they even reach agreement. But the future resolution of disputes in any eventual EU/UK agreement has exercised both sides already in the embryonic negotiations. This is […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Adjudication – to be (bound), or not to be?

The recent case of Khurana v. Webster Construction Limited [2015] EWHC 758 (TCC) highlights the need for care when agreeing to be “bound” by an adjudicator’s award. Adjudication is widely used in the construction industry to resolve disputes. It has various advantages over court proceedings, in particular speed and cost. One potential disadvantage is that […]


Much has been written recently about the Deregulation Bill. It proposes to alter the law in many areas, but residential landlords will in particular need to be aware of the changes being brought into force in relation to Assured Shorthold Tenancies.

Does the conclusivity of a JCT Final Certificate unlawfully fetter a party’s right to adjudicate?

Where a project is governed by a JCT form of contract, the Final Certificate is intended to ensure that disputes arising after practical completion are resolved with a degree of finality and speed. The usual provision is that a party has 28 days in which to challenge the Final Certificate, once it has been issued. […]

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 […]

X Factor, animal sanctuaries and the Angel of the North – who said the law of involuntary bailment is dull?

In the recent case of Campbell – v – Redstone Mortgages Limited [2014] EWHC 3081 (Ch), the High Court considered the duties of mortgagees, landlords and others who find themselves in the position of involuntary bailee of goods left behind at a property after repossession. The factual background to this case is perhaps one of […]

One Nuisance for Another

The Court of Appeal has twice this year given judgments in the case Coventry and others v. Lawrence and another, first in February (“Coventry No. 1”; [2014] UKSC 13) and more recently in July (“Coventry No. 2”; [2014] UKSC 46). The Facts In the 1970s Mr Waters gained planning permission to construct on his farmland […]

Liquidators, Trustees in Bankruptcy and Administrators BEWARE: ATE Premiums & CFA Success Fees will Soon be Non-Recoverable in Insolvency Proceedings

This note is relevant to liquidators, trustees in bankruptcy and administrators (“office holders”) who have, or may have, claims which, prior to April 2015, they ought – or wish – to bring against any third party on behalf of the company or bankrupt individual to recover money or property for the benefit of creditors. A […]

“Arbitrate, don’t Litigate”

Jonathan Haydn-Williams’ article was recently posted on the website of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators at the following link, It suggests a solution to the difficulties facing anyone seeking to bring a claim of less than £1/4 million against banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and the like. It is said that, many years ago, a […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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.

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.

When is a House not a House? Leasehold Enfranchisement Update

The Supreme Court gives guidance on the answer to this deceptive question …

When Might a Cap on Liability be Unenforceable?

A recent decision in the Technology & Construction Court has highlighted where liability caps will be viewed as unenforceable in cases where there is an ongoing obligation under the contract to maintain professional indemnity insurance.

Chancel Repair Liability Update

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