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Category Archives: Case Updates

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A costly lesson in consent

When a tenant wants to assign its lease but needs the landlord’s consent, the law (if not the lease) prevents the landlord from acting unreasonably.  The landlord may want to withhold consent or impose conditions, but how does it know whether that is considered reasonable? Earlier this month the High Court considered this question in

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Better late than never? Relief from forfeiture after 14 months

The High Court has granted relief from forfeiture to a tenant 14 months after a landlord exercised his right to forfeit by peaceable re-entry. Whilst delay may ultimately be a decisive factor against granting relief, the Court has a wide discretion in reaching that decision.  In this instance, the Court considered it wrong to base

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Private tenants’ claims – Human Rights won’t wash

The Supreme Court has clarified that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), an individual’s right to respect for private family life and their home, has no bearing on the court’s decision to grant a possession order against a private sector tenant. Fiona McDonald occupied her home under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

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Landlords: Take Notice!

The decision of the High Court in Vanquish Properties (UK) Limited Partnership –v- Brook Street (UK) Limited provides a stark reminder of the strict requirements for serving a valid break notice and the traps into which the unwary can easily fall. The case concerned premises on Fenchurch Street, which were originally let by the City

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Mistakes happen but High Court decision eases rectification

The case of Isaaks v Charlton Homes Ltd concerned a lease which incorrectly recorded the demise as a “third floor flat”. In fact, the property was a second floor flat. Surprisingly, this was only discovered several years after grant when the tenant’s lender sought to enforce the security it had and realised that the property

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EXPERT EVIDENCE IN LEASE RENEWALS WORTH EVERY POUND

A rare High Court decision on an unopposed lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 has underlined the importance of robust and thorough expert evidence – and the dangers of getting this wrong. Flanders Community Centre Ltd v Newham London Borough Council concerned the lease renewal of a community centre. The tenant first

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Black Ant – Tacking and Further Advances

The Black Ant case relates to the meaning of “further advances” in the context of the anti-tacking provisions in the Land Registration Act 2002.  What is tacking and why is the case important? Tacking is the means by which a lender is able to use its charge to “tack on” (meaning add) any further advances

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A brace of cases on the right to enfranchise

The last two months have seen two key appeals in which the court was required to decide whether the tenant of a particular type of building should enjoy the statutory right to acquire the freehold of a house. This right is enshrined in the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The properties, and the questions for the court

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More leisure time for timeshare owners

Timeshare owners of Elham House in Canterbury will celebrate a recent High Court decision confirming that you can grant a binding property right (easement) to use facilities such as a golf course, swimming pool or tennis court. Until this decision, it was unclear whether use of leisure facilities could exist as an easement as stringent

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Lost and found: Bona Vacantia property restored

In Re Fivestar Properties Ltd, the High Court has decided that a dissolved company which is subsequently restored to the register could have its freehold property re-vested in it, even though the property had passed to the Crown bona vacantia and the Crown had subsequently disclaimed it. Fivestar, a property development company, entered into a

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Is a chalet a chattel? The rules laid bare

In Spielplatz Ltd v Pearson and another [2015] the Court of Appeal had to decide whether a chalet was a chattel (movable possession) or had become part of the land on which it was situated.  The Court decided it was part of the land. In 1992, the freehold owner of a naturist resort granted an

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Business rates: the Supreme Court decides on rating practice for separate floors in a building

Business rates are a tax on non-domestic property, with each property unit or “hereditament” being subject to a rateable value on which the tax is calculated. Where different parts of an office building are occupied by the same business, those parts have usually been treated as a single hereditament if they were contiguous (sharing a

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It’s no holiday for service charges

The Supreme Court has upheld the general rule that irrespective of how imprudent a term in a lease may be, the courts will be very reluctant to reject it, because the purpose of contractual interpretation by the courts is to identify what the parties agreed, and not what the parties should have agreed. The case

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Light relief for developers?

In the first rights of light case to follow the Supreme Court’s decision in Coventry -v- Lawrence a county court has refused an injunction to prevent interference with rights of light. The case of Scott -v- Aimiuwu concerned two neighbouring houses in Potters Bar. Mr and Mrs Aimiuwu built a substantial extension to the rear

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Buyers beware: forgo the survey and pay the price

The importance of carrying out a survey before exchange of contracts was illustrated in the recent case of Hardy v Griffiths.  The sellers (Hardy) successfully brought a claim against the buyers (Griffiths) for failing to complete the purchase of a house. The facts were as follows: In March 2011, Mr and Mrs Hardy accepted an

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Is a landlord responsible for a tenant’s nuisance?

The Coventry v Lawrence litigation attracted a lot of attention earlier this year on the subject of when an injunction would be granted to restrain a nuisance (such as interfering with rights to light).  A further decision by the Supreme Court in the same case has now provided some welcome guidance on the different topic

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Repeat guarantees back in the headlines

In the latest round of litigation on the vexatious issue of repeat guarantees, the Court of Appeal reached a sensible, commercial decision in Tindall Cobham 1 Limited v Adda Hotels [2014].  You will remember that repeat guarantees require the same guarantor to guarantee successive tenants. They were seen as a practical solution for both landlord

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The Return of Superstrike – Tenancy Deposit Schemes – residential landlords must protect deposits afresh if the tenant remains beyond the fixed term

Tenancy Deposit Schemes continue to trip up landlords in the residential sector with yet another court decision on how the scheme should work. The legal framework requires landlords to do two things within 30 days of receiving the deposit: pay the deposit into a registered scheme; and give the tenant certain prescribed information about how

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Guarantor pays nothing in DIY store case

The recent Court of Appeal case involving Topland Limited and Smiths News Trading Limited was a salutary lesson about the strict rules that protect guarantors and the perils of forgetting them.  The facts of the case were relatively simple:  Topland owned a commercial property, leased to the rather aptly named Payless DIY Ltd, which became

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Insolvency and Deposits: Get your priorities right

Landlords often ask for a rent deposit when they grant a new lease, or consent to an assignment, especially if the incoming tenant is of shaky covenant strength.  This provides security against possible future default. If a tenant becomes insolvent then this is exactly the sort of situation where a landlord would want to make