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Keeping It Real Estate News and Trends in UK Real Estate, Disputes and Planning Law

Category Archives: Real Estate News

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Prejudice to landowner is too high to impose Code rights on its land

The Electronic Communications Code gives powers to telecoms operators to acquire rights over private land to install their apparatus for the purpose of providing their network. In order to impose rights against a reluctant landowner, the operator must establish that the prejudice caused to the landowner by the imposition of those rights can be adequately

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UK COVID-19 – The FCA Business Interruption Test Case ruling – the end of the ‘Covid clause’ in leases?

This week the High Court has delivered its eagerly anticipated ruling in the FCA Business Interruption Test Case. The case was brought by the Financial Conduct Authority on behalf of business interruption policyholders, with the aim of determining issues of principle on coverage and causation under a series of sample policy wordings. Whilst of broad

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UK COVID-19: Government extends protections for commercial tenants

After much speculation the government announced on 16 September that it will be extending protections that have been afforded to commercial tenants as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What are the current protections? Commercial tenants currently benefit from a number of COVID-19 related protections including: a temporary prohibition on landlords forfeiting commercial leases as

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UK COVID-19 – Further protection from eviction for residential tenants

Following emergency legislation in March 2020, intended to protect residential tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 lockdown (see our blog here) the government has announced further measures to ease the pressure on tenants who continue to feel the social and economic impact of the pandemic. Six month notice period From 29 August 2020, landlords must

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Restrictive covenants – more likely to be enforceable, but don’t forget competition law

A recent Supreme Court judgment has clarified one of the routes to challenging covenants limiting land use. It has adopted a new approach to assessing the old question of what is a “restraint of trade”? The judgment did not however address possible challenges to restrictive covenants under competition law, which remain a real possibility. The

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HMRC change their practice on VAT treatment of lease variations

HMRC has today published Revenue & Customs Brief 11 of 2020 (RCB), concerning the VAT treatment of lease variations.  The RCB represents a change in the way HMRC have treated lease variations for VAT purposes where the landlord reduces the rent and the tenant agrees to give up or vary their break right.  Although HMRC

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A sign of the times – Land Registry start accepting electronic signatures

The Land Registry has announced this morning that, with immediate effect and until further notice, they will accept for registration transfers, leases and certain other deeds which have been electronically signed. Twelve weeks ago, when the Land Registry announced that they would register deeds which had been signed ‘virtually’ using the “Mercury” protocol, practitioners across

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Hold the back page! Cyber attacks hit sport – what can property owners learn?

In all the COVID chaos it is easy to forget about cyber security vulnerability and that the UK real estate industry remains exposed to cyber attacks through inadequate security systems and lack of preparedness.  The fundamental unsuitability of both institutional leases and standard buildings insurance policies to address cyber attacks that cause non-physical damage leaves

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Law Commission heralds new lease of life for residential property

Just like buses and government slogans, it seems that Law Commission reports on the future of residential property in England and Wales come in threes.  Following separate, lengthy consultations, the Law Commission has this week published its proposals for reforming leasehold enfranchisement, tenants’ statutory right to manage (“RTM”), and Commonhold ownership. It is estimated that

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UK COVID-19: Should the UK real estate sector still worry about a no-deal Brexit?

At the moment Brexit appears to have been forgotten by many. This is understandable – the impact of COVID-19 is so immediate, vast and deep that the economic impact of Brexit seems distant and trivial by comparison. However, as real estate investors, landlords and tenants adapt and restructure their businesses they need to factor in

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COVID-19 UK – Additional breathing space…but tenants who can pay should

Last week the government announced that: the forfeiture moratorium is to be extended until 30th September 2020; Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) can only be used where tenants owe at least 189 days of unpaid principal rent; the draft Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill has been amended, extending the temporary ban on the use of winding-up

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UK COVID-19: The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill – New tenant/debtor protections unveiled

Long awaited insolvency reforms in the UK, plus the government’s COVID-19 proposals on the use of statutory demands – and much more What’s the latest? As we reported on 24 April, the government announced curbs to landlords’ “aggressive” rent collection tactics of serving statutory demands and presenting winding-up petitions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The details

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UK COVID-19: Residential possession proceedings during lockdown- is the new practice direction too wide to work?

The UK government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak has included various steps intended to relieve pressure on residential property tenants, whose livelihoods and income might have been seriously impacted by the current lockdown.  Those steps have included the extension of statutory notice periods for landlords who want to terminate residential tenancies, and extra time being

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UK COVID-19: Further commercial tenant protections announced by the government

Yesterday, the government announced further protection for the “UK high street from aggressive rent collection”.  This protection takes the form of further restrictions on a landlord’s ability to pursue certain enforcement action against a tenant: in particular, serving statutory demands and presenting winding up petitions for non-payment of rent. These protections build upon the temporary

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Right to rent checks – here to stay

The Court of Appeal has held that right to rent checks are not unlawful under the Human Rights Act, reversing a decision of the High Court. The Court held that the scheme was a “proportionate means of achieving its legitimate objective”, and was therefore justified. However its finding that the scheme has caused some discrimination

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COVID-19 UK – Flexibility in insurance policies for property managers

COVID-19 UK: Many insurance policies require annual lift servicing and water management system servicing. Is there any flexibility in policies for this sort of thing in exceptional circumstances? Our understanding is that insurers should be flexible around these sorts of requirements (e.g. annual lift servicing or water management system servicing) in property insurance policies given

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COVID-19 UK: Landlord and tenant insurance issues

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, so does uncertainty. Landlords and tenants are facing unprecedented impacts on their businesses, and it is no surprise in this environment that both parties are looking to their insurance for comfort. Business interruption insurance Calling COVID-19 an interruption to business would be something of an understatement, and

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COVID-19 UK: The impact on rent review

It will not have escaped the attention of anyone in the real estate industry that today is the March quarter day. For many landlords and occupiers, the immediate focus will be on rent payments due today and the media are already reporting that large numbers of retailers are expected to withhold rent to ease cashflow

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UK COVID-19: Commercial tenants to be given three months’ protection from forfeiture

Yesterday, as well as locking down the country, the government published critical amendments to the emergency Coronavirus Bill protecting commercial tenants from the risk of forfeiture until the end of June 2020. The Bill, together with these amendments, has now been approved by the House of Commons and is, today, going before the House of