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Property Law Journal: 3 June 2013
Forsters LLP

Helen Pickard examines the ramifications for developers and certifying architects of a recent High Court decision dealing with their liabilities to original and subsequent purchasers

The recent High Court decision in Hunt v Optima (Cambridge) Ltd [2013] relating to a defectively built block of flats is of importance to property practitioners for a number of reasons. It deals with the liabilities of both the developer and its certifying architect to original and subsequent purchasers for defective works, as well as damages for breach of the developer’s repairing obligations as landlord. It also deals with the relevant limitation period for bringing a claim and how to quantify the damages payable. The decision has important ramifications for professionals employed by a developer who provides documentation they know purchasers will rely on, and it highlights the need for property lawyers to ensure there are necessary warranties and assignments of rights from the original purchasers.

Christopher Cant explains how to avoid problems with easements on sales of part

At a recent seminar, I was asked by a surveyor if easements were important. For a lawyer the answer is simple: extremely. They are part of the nitty gritty of everyday life in the property world as one of the means by which relationships between different properties and their occupants are governed.

Jasveer Randhawa and Natacha Heffinck discuss the government’s proposals on judicial review and the effect they would have within the planning sector

In December 2012, the government launched a public consultation, which outlined a number of proposals to reform the judicial review process in the UK. The proposals were aimed at remedying various problems arising out of the current judicial review framework, such as delays, costs being added to public services and, in some cases, the stifling of innovation and frustration of much needed reforms (such as those aimed at stimulating growth and promoting economic recovery).

Freddie Jackson considers what steps a landowner might take in order to protect their land against a town or village green application

Town or village green (TVG) applications are a particular grievance for developers and landowners. The effect of a successful application is onerous; a landowner cannot use the land for any use (including development), which will interfere with the recreational rights of local inhabitants. An unsuccessful application will considerably delay proposed development of the land, straining the finances of any project associated with the land. Applications may take many months to reach a public inquiry, and many more before an inspector’s report and final decision is taken.

John Starr

John Starr looks at a case that highlights the effect of net contribution clauses in contracts

Increasingly, either as a requirement of their insurers or otherwise, consultants are seeking to include net contribution clauses in their appointments and warranties, but do they always work?

The grant of a lease may now be the ‘transfer of a business as a going concern’ for VAT purposes. Jessica Ganagasegaran reports

Following the taxpayer’s successful appeal in Robinson Family Ltd v HMRC [2012], HMRC now accepts that, in some cases, the grant of a lease may comprise a transfer of a business as a going concern (TOGC) for VAT purposes. Since stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is computed by reference to VAT-inclusive consideration, the change in VAT treatment may also enable some tenants to whom leases have previously been granted to reclaim overpaid SDLT.