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Category Archives: Real Estate News

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What’s happening with the Retail Prices Index and why?

Speedread: Alongside Wednesday’s Spending Review, the government and the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) have published their response to the recent consultation on reform to the RPI. The outcome to the consultation states that “it is UKSA policy to address the shortcomings of the RPI in full at the earliest practical time”.  The earliest the proposed

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A Conclusive Conclusion for Service Charge Certificates?

In a case that will be welcomed by landlords, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a service charge statement was conclusive both as to the landlord’s costs and the scope of the services. Background The case concerned Blacks, the outdoor retailer, who was the tenant under a commercial lease. Under the service charge clause:

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Challenging Times (continued) – The Use Classes Order and Permitted Development Rights

In our blog of 3 September 2020, we brought you news of the challenge to the recent changes to the Use Classes Order and the Permitted Development Rights (“PDR”) regime. The action group bringing the claim sought to quash the statutory instruments which bring about the changes to the Use Classes Order (including the introduction

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Supreme Court ruling in restrictive covenant case: ignore covenants at your own risk

The Supreme Court has handed down judgment today in an eagerly awaited case on restrictive covenants and affordable housing. It is the first time that the Supreme Court has considered a case on the modification of restrictive covenants. In today’s judgment, the Court has sent a warning message to developers who knowingly breach restrictive covenants

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Stand By for Action on EPCs!

Back in July 2018, the government launched a “Call for Evidence on Energy Performance Certificates”. To read our blog click here. Over two years later the government has published an “Action Plan”, setting out what it is going to do in the light of the responses it received. However, if you are worried about the

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The Sun Also Rises on Pre-pack Administration Reform

In 2015, responding to mounting concerns about pre-pack administration sales, a set of voluntary industry measures were introduced to address the perceived lack of transparency and trust in the process – especially when the sale was to a connected party, like a director or shareholder of the company in administration. To encourage compliance, the government

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Higher MEES for residential properties? Have your say

On 30 September 2020 the government published its consultation on amending the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (the “Regulations”), raising minimum energy efficiency standards for the domestic private rented sector in England and Wales. What is behind this consultation? The government’s aim is to have as many private rented sector

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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