Real Estate 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 […]

Landlords and Tenants: MEES Regulations are now in force

As you will have seen in both the legal and mainstream press, the requirement of a minimum energy efficient standard for premises (known as MEES) was introduced in 2015 as part of a range of measures to meet the UK government’s carbon reduction targets. As a result of this requirement, a landlord cannot let commercial […]

Understanding Easements: What you don’t know can hurt you

This article first appeared in Prime Resi. If you are buying, selling or developing a property in England or Wales, it is critical that you understand easements and how they could affect a property’s intended use. Easement is a medieval word that derives from the 14th century Old French “aisement”, meaning comfort, convenience, use or […]

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 […]

Reasonableness – it’s in the decision

A Court of Appeal decision on a landlord’s refusal to consent to an assignment It is common for leases to require a tenant to obtain landlord’s consent to an assignment, and to provide that the consent cannot to be unreasonably withheld. This unreasonableness condition was recently considered by the Court of Appeal in No. 1 […]

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 […]

Yet another break notice hazard warning

It seems that barely a year goes by without a break clause related tale of woe emanating from the Courts. Sackville Property Select II (GP) No.1 Ltd & Anor v Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers Ltd & Anor can be added to that ever expanding tome. In that case the Court considered the validity of a […]

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 […]

Easements – don’t let them be a burden!

It is no secret that sought-after areas with development potential in the UK are densely populated and that securing land is increasingly difficult with demand outstripping supply. Many “infill” development sites rely on access or services being provided via land owned by third parties. The need to properly check that the development has both sufficient […]

Easing the burden for first-time buyers: Stamp Duty Land Tax Relief

The Chancellor announced some welcome changes for first-time buyers (“FTBs”) to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) regime in his Budget on 22nd November. From this date, FTBs of residential property of up to £500,000 will benefit from the following: For purchases of up to £300,000, no SDLT will be payable. This represents a considerable […]

Energy Performance Certificates and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

While the Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) has been with us since August 2007, it has been largely viewed as a administrative bother that has to be done before a premises was to be let or sold that once seen could be quickly discarded and ignored. This was even the view where the premises was given […]

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 […]

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 […]

FOX/SKY; how feeble Ofcom report increases Murdoch’s chance of success

Whatever one thinks of Rupert Murdoch, his ambitions to acquire the shares of Sky that he does not already own can only ultimately be constrained by robust theories and facts that persuade an independent regulator that it is more likely than not that the public interest will be harmed (the legal test for control of […]

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 […]

Alcohol and Late Night Refreshment Figures

The latest Government figures for alcohol and late night refreshment licences are out. Two points stand out for me. First, the ongoing climb in the number of premises licences suggests a general resilience in the sector, which is encouraging.  Challenges obviously remain, broad figures should be approached with caution, and there are still pockets of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Dealing with non-paying customers

You stand back and admire your craftsmanship and attention to detail. The rebuild/repair/race preparation etc you have just finished is finally ready to be presented to your customer along with your bill. You have worked hard to get the project finished and you know that he will appreciate all your effort. You promptly send your […]

Court of Appeal Judgment: Thomas v Dawson & Anor [2015] EWCA Civ 706

In Thomas v Dawson & Anor [2015] EWCA Civ 706 the Court of Appeal was called upon to make a judgment on whether the Court has absolute discretion to make awards in unfair prejudice petitions under s 994 Companies Act 2006. Background The Companies Act 2006 (“CA 2006”) allows for a member of a company to […]

Summer Budget 2015: The Headlines

On 8 July the Chancellor presented his Summer Budget to Parliament. Many of the measures contained in the Budget will have a significant impact on a range of Private Client issues and we will be looking at these in more detail over the coming months. In the meantime, we have summarised the key headlines below: […]

Office to Residential Conversions – the facts

Office to Residential conversion is at a 10 year high following changes in May 2013 to the planning laws in England. The changes saw the relaxation of rules surrounding what development would be allowed under the Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. One of the key changes implemented was that office space […]

Implications of “Fen Tigers” for property Developers

The Supreme Court Judgment in Coventy v. Lawrence, delivered on 26 February 2014, has many ramifications for the law of nuisance, but for property developers, their architects and other professional advisors, a key significance of the judgment is as to the assessment of risk of injunction arising out of infringement of rights of light. The […]

Protocol for applications for consent to assign or sublet

Of the various attempts to strike a fair balance in the landlord and tenant relationship, and to mitigate some of its rougher edges, at the ‘softer’ end are those that seek to influence and guide rather than prescribe or legislate.  Of late that ‘softer’ side seems to have mainly comprised codes of practice; and in […]

New Development on Holiday Pay

Earlier this month, an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) judgment in three joined cases (Bear Scotland Limited & Ors v Fulton & Ors; Hertel (UK) Limited v Woods & Others and Amec Group Limited v Law & Ors) has confirmed: (i)      that all elements of a worker’s normal remuneration (including payments in respect of non-guaranteed overtime) […]

Do You Need To Re-Protect Your Tenant’s Deposit?

A recent decision in the Birmingham County Court that has applied the Court of Appeal ruling in Superstrike Ltd v Marion Rodrigues (“Superstrike”) has changed the way in which it was understood the legislation relating to tenancies and deposits was meant to operate. The Statutory Background Under the Housing Act 2004 (“HA 2004”), landlords must […]

Employment Tribunal Fees

29 July 2014 will mark the first anniversary of the introduction of legal fees in the Employment Tribunal. Heavily publicised and politically charged, the introduction of fees for submitting a claim, and further fees for progressing to a full hearing, has had a considerable impact on the Employment Tribunal System, as demonstrated in brief by […]

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.

Copyright: Hyperlinking And The Right Of Communication To The Public

Svensson and others v Retriever Sverige AB Overview Linking is the practice of posting clickable links on the internet which lead to content posted elsewhere. Under s20 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA”), it is prohibited to communicate to the public by electronic transmission the whole or a substantial part of a […]

Why Your New Year Resolution Should Be Making a Will

It is not surprising that most people find it quite difficult to get around to making a Will. It can be hard to face up to one’s own mortality and often when people are considering making a Will it is after somebody close has died. However, if you do not make a Will then you […]

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 […]

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 […]

Nestlé v Cadbury: registering a colour as a trademark

Société des Produits Nestlé SA v Cadbury UK Limited [2013] EWCA Civ On 4 October 2013 the Court of Appeal decision in Nestlé’s challenge to Cadbury’s registration of a shade of purple as a trademark for their chocolate products gave careful consideration to the application of Article 2 of the Trade Marks Directive 2008/95/EC. Registration […]

European Commission Confirms Validity of Exclusive Broadcasting Rights Agreements

In its Green Paper entitled “Preparing for a fully converged audio visual world” published in the Spring of this year, the Commission gave its gloss on the famous FAPL judgment of the European Court of Justice (Judgment of 4 October 2011). The Court’s judgment had cast doubt on the validity of exclusive broadcasting agreements on […]

Whistleblowing Protection

Now that employees usually need over two year’s service before they are able to claim unfair dismissal, they often look for other potential claims to bring against their employer if the relationship ends on a sour note. Whistleblowing is one of those potential avenues as no period of qualifying service is required. Employers would be […]

New Planning Rules for Change Come into Effect – Regime Relaxed for Change of Use from Office to Residential

In our February edition of GD Online, we highlighted the changes which the government was proposing to introduce in relation to permitted development rights, particularly the change of use from offices (Class B1(a)) to residential (Class C3) without the need for planning permission. The legislation came into force on 30th May 2013.

More Break Clause Gremlins

Mark Kendrick gives his latest instalment of seeming injustice for tenants when seeking to exercise break clauses.

Ofcom and the Pub Landlord: Have Sky and (FAPL) Won?

The summer’s exciting sporting action has not entirely obscured important developments off the field in the Pay TV market. Ofcom has been trying for a long time to loosen Sky’s grip on Premier League rights and BT Vision has bought a package of rights at considerable expense. However Ofcom has lost a significant battle before the Competition Appeal Tribunal . And it looks as if the pub landlady’s much trumpeted “victory” will be snatched from her as the Premier League curtails the number of foreign broadcasts. Stephen Hornsby asks whether it is now time for the regulatory authorities to move on.

Landmark Judgment in Fight Against Online Piracy: BT Forced to Block Access to Newzbin2

The Motion Picture Association (MPA), which represents a number of Hollywood film studios, has been successful in its application to the High Court to prevent BT from allowing its ISP customers to access the Newzbin2 website. The landmark judgment was handed down on 28 July 2011 by Mr Justice Arnold. The MPA argued that the […]