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Property Law Journal: 11 March 2013

Rachel Kerr advises developers and property owners to ‘be prepared’ when planning redevelopment or refurbishment works

The construction activity index is at the highest level since January 2008, with non-residential activity showing the greatest rise. The number of redevelopment and refurbishment projects is increasing, as developers and property owners use the continued lull in the market to prepare properties, ready to catch the upturn when it comes.

Nabarro LLP

Nick Lloyd reviews the Law Commission’s proposals and their likely impact

The Law Commission has rights of light in its sight. Until the 18 February the perception was that possible reform had dropped down the agenda and that it was just too thorny an issue to tackle. That perception was completely wrong and the Law Commission has not only published a consultation paper on the future of rights of light but also made some brave proposals, which have the potential to be transformative. However, other proposals may not go far enough for developers.

The recent Court of Appeal case of Wilkinson v Kerdene is a useful reminder of an exception to the general rule that the burden of a positive covenant does not run with freehold land, as Simon Jones finds out

Positive covenants (such as a covenant to repair or a covenant to pay a maintenance charge) generally do not bind successors in title to the original freehold owner.

Following the recent consultation on changing the formulae to calculate the Retail Price Index, John Condliffe looks at the impact of any changes

Changes to the purpose and make up of investors’ real estate portfolios over recent years including, in particular, the increased focus on a liability driven investment (LDI) strategy, has resulted in a number of funds investing in real estate assets which produce income linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI).

John Baird and Anna Harlow examine a case demonstrating the limits of localism

Since the introduction of the Localism Act 2011 and the NPPF (the framework), there has been a considerable ‘disconnect’ between what ministers have told the public and local authorities that localism is supposed to mean, and the actual effect of the amendments to planning legislation. Tewkesbury Borough Council v SSCLG [2013] is therefore a welcome decision helping to clarify what localism and the framework really mean, and how, in reality, very little has changed.

John Starr

In John Grimes Partnership Ltd v Gubbins a consulting engineer was held liable for a fall in the housing market. John Starr discusses

In our continuing look into the potential liabilities of professionals in the construction industry, we examine a case where a firm of consulting engineers was found liable for the diminution in value of a development that had been held up by their failure to get their job done on time. This seems, at first sight, to be stretching the concept of remoteness somewhat, but is it really any different to any other sort of delay in completing something known to be affected by movements in the market?

Emma Humphreys gives the lowdown on a new criminal offence for squatting in residential buildings

There has been increasing concern about the cost and inconvenience caused by squatters when they occupy property, not least because of the apparent inability of the police to assist property owners and occupiers when such problems occur. As a result, owners and occupiers have too often had to spend considerable sums in seeking to evict squatters, repairing damage and cleaning up the debris they leave behind.