Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

In the first of two articles highlighting the key points of a case involving deliberate deceit by a surveyor, Jonathan Brooks explores the principles involved

Following the ‘boom and bust’ of the mid-noughties, the courts have seen many instances of over-inflated mortgage valuations giving rise to findings of professional negligence against surveyors. Pressure from sheer volume of instructions, too casual an approach to obtaining and critically assessing comparables, combined with over-reliance on, and misplaced optimism in, the continuance of a rising market, meant that some surveyors fell below the standard of care required of them and overvalued properties, often causing borrowers and mortgage lenders to suffer loss.

Roger Cohen summarises a series of cases which demonstrate the issues that can arise when a title is registered by fraud or error

The elevator pitch for the system of title by registration in England and Wales is compelling. Title comes with registration. The register is conclusive, or almost conclusive. If the register is wrong and an innocent person is prejudiced, the Land Registry will indemnify the loss. Simple and what could go wrong? The devil is in the detail, compounded by the history and the propensity of a minority to commit fraud. Three examples illustrate the problems that can arise: Malory Enterprises Ltd v Cheshire Homes (UK) Ltd [2002], Gold Harp Properties Ltd v MacLeod [2014] and Swift 1st Ltd v The Chief Land Registrar [2015].

Littlestone v Macleish [2016] sheds light on whether landlords’ costs on dilapidation claims are recoverable on a standard or indemnity basis. Rosalind Cullis explains

The Court of Appeal decision in Littlestone v Macleish [2016] has attracted legal commentary, primarily because of the court’s findings regarding offers made pursuant to Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). Indeed, the majority of the judgment focuses on this issue. Of particular interest to property practitioners, however, will be the court’s interpretation of a clause frequently found in leases of commercial premises, which sets out the circumstances in which a landlord may recover its costs from a tenant. While only six paragraphs of the 43-paragraph judgment are concerned with this subject, such brevity should not detract from the significance of the issue at hand.

John Starr investigates the use of mediation in construction disputes and debates its effect on individual access to justice

Mediation has evolved, over the decades since its arrival from the US in the 1970s, into a popular means of dispute resolution in the UK construction industry, particularly in low-value disputes. Its ‘popularity’ has been ‘encouraged’ by the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) through the use of cost sanctions.

In light of the recent consultation, Harriet Bastiani gives the pros and cons of the proposed privatisation of the Land Registry

In what many observers see as a controversial move, at the end of March 2016 the government announced a consultation on plans to move the operations of the Land Registry into the private sector from 2017. This forms part of the government’s wider aim of achieving £5bn of additional corporate and financial asset sales by March 2020, with the sale of the Land Registry clearly intended to provide an easy capital receipt for the government in its bid to reduce the deficit.

Bryan Johnston reports on the outcome of a recent High Court decision, and calls for further reform to the 1995 Act

The Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 (the Act) has been a source of much judicial consideration in recent years. In particular, the validity of guarantees given by guarantors following assignment of leases has been the cause of legal scrutiny as well as consternation and concern from commercial parties keen to deal with their own business affairs but affected by the operation of the Act. A landlord, for example, risks losing the security of a valid guarantee from a guarantor with good covenant strength. Conversely, a tenant group may find it difficult to restructure as landlords seek to avoid a parent company’s guarantee becoming void and refuse consent to assign.

Alastair Morrison and Rose-Anna Higgins consider the details of the increased stamp duty land tax burden for buyers and their advisers

George Osborne’s 2016 Spring Budget introduced a number of changes that will affect UK real estate, which are set out below.

Dean Monk examines a case in which a guarantor unsuccessfully sought to avoid liability on the basis the landlord had accepted a surrender of the lease

The case of Padwick Properties Ltd v Punj Lloyd Ltd [2016] involved a bold attempt by a guarantor to delay and/or prevent liability following the tenant’s insolvency.