Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Karl Anders reviews recent case law concerning residential service charges, highlighting key lessons for landlords and tenants

Service charges are a common source of friction between landlords and tenants. Residential service charge disputes in particular can be very contentious, especially when hefty charges are levied on unsuspecting tenants, and not least where tenants cannot easily see or understand where sums charged are being spent, what charges relate to and whether they are reasonable.

Rebecca Cattermole highlights the current position on the doctrine of estoppel in the context of recent case law

The case of Moore v Moore [2016] is the most recent illustration of the treatment of proprietary estoppel by the courts and, once again, shines a spotlight on farming businesses and the perils of informal arrangements. It is a somewhat typical case: a father has promised his share in the family farm to a son who, in turn, has devoted his whole life to it but, following a souring of relations, the father has sought to resile from that promise. The court found that the son was entitled to an equitable interest in the father’s share of the farm and assets by way of proprietary estoppel.

Sonia Ferreira, Karen Jacobs and Tim Constable consider who is to blame if the seller is an imposter

An important judgment handed down by the High Court considered the liability of both solicitors and estate agents in circumstances where the seller of a property turned out to be an imposter.

Laura Cole and Edward Gamble discuss the best way to deal with squatters

Although we are all familiar with the concept of squatters, a person can only claim a legal right to be registered as the title owner to land if it can prove to the Land Registrar’s satisfaction that it has been in actual, physical possession of that land for the required length of time, without the permission of the legal owner. Conversely, this means that for land owners, diligence is required to ensure that if a third party is accessing and/or using land without a right to do so, action is taken by the land owner as soon as possible to either prevent possession, or to make it clear that the possession is unauthorised.

The co-ordination of adjudications on multi-tier projects can lead to conflicts. John Starr reports

The universal availability of adjudication as a means of dispute resolution in the construction industry can have potentially serious implications on multi-tier projects. For example, inconsistent decisions in adjudications between employer and contractor and between contractor and sub-contractor can leave the contractor with a loss which it cannot pass down the supply chain without recourse to the courts.

Alex Anderson and Claire McNicholl report on a case which raises points of concern for valuers

Valuers should exercise caution concerning the scope of the duty they owe to their clients following the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in the matter of Tiuta International Ltd (In Liquidation) v De Villiers Surveyors Ltd [2016].

Katie Gray reviews a recent case that considers the competing interests of freeholders and RTM companies

Francia Properties Ltd v Aristou & ors [2016] is a first instance decision of Mr Recorder Morgan sitting at the county court in Central London. While only a county court decision, it is of interest to property practitioners firstly because it is the only known decided case on the question of competing interests between freeholders and Right to Manage (RTM) companies, and secondly because permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal under the ‘leapfrog’ provisions of CPR r52.14(1)(a) has been granted.

Should a vendor’s solicitor be under the same scrutiny as those representing the purchaser? Mary Young and Ben Hillman discuss

Victims of identity theft or modern scams frequently suffer more inconvenience and stress than permanent financial loss. Customers of financial institutions and law firms can rely on safeguards in any number of transactions when falling victim to fraud or dishonesty. Liability, particularly where the underlying perpetrator is a speck on the horizon, increasingly lands at the door of professional advisers and their insurers. Quite recently, the High Court ruled that both the vendor’s and purchaser’s solicitors may be on the hook in certain property transactions.