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Property Law Journal: 5 December 2011
Forsters LLP

Ruth Atkins asks whether exclusivity agreements are worth the effort, or whether they simply serve as a distraction from negotiating the main transaction

The process associated with buying or taking lease of a property can be expensive and time consuming, and a seller may withdraw at any time prior to exchange of contracts with limited or no financial consequences. Some buyers and tenants look for a means of protecting their position during the due diligence period in order to lessen the chances of being gazumped and to provide some comfort that their abortive costs will be covered if the seller withdraws. This issue is particularly relevant in a vibrant market, with many bidders competing for a limited pool of prime assets.

Nitej Davda explains why the proposed introduction of a criminal offence of squatting on residential premises will do little to deal with the crux of the matter

This year has seen two high-profile instances of squatting in residential property. In February, a property in Fitzrovia, owned by film director Guy Ritchie, was unlawfully occupied by squatters. It was reported that the squatters claimed they were going to set up a free school at the site. Then, over the summer, we learned of the plight of the Cockerells. Mr and Mrs Cockerell purchased a property in Hampstead, north-west London as a family home in which to raise their soon-to-be born first child, only to discover that squatters had taken up occupation of the property. Based upon press coverage surrounding the incident it took several weeks and several thousand pounds before the Cockerells recovered possession of their home.

Ed John and Shanna Davison consider the impact of late rent reviews and give some practical tips for parties on either side of rent review negotiations

It is the rule rather than the exception that rent is reviewed later than the date specified in the lease. This is particularly so during a downturn when landlords are hoping for the market to recover so that more positive comparable transactions will come to light, and tenants, who will often have upwards-only rent reviews, have no desire to risk their rent being reviewed. However, the consequences of a late rent review are not always well understood and contain traps for the unwary, particularly tenants who might assume that a missed review works in their favour.

In considering Berrisford v Mexfield, the Supreme Court has expressed its view on the current, unsatisfactory, legal position where a lease or tenancy agreement has been created for an uncertain duration. Carl Roche investigates

On 9 November the Supreme Court handed down judgment in Berrisford v Mexfield Housing Co-operative Ltd [2011], a case primarily concerning a tenancy agreement that incorporated an uncertain maximum term.

Cobbetts LLP

Helena Davies examines the implications of installing photovoltaic solar panels on leasehold properties

The relatively recent trend in installing photovoltaic solar panels (PV panels) on the roofs of buildings is born out of government incentives. Typically, there are three parts to a solar installation arrangement:

Robert Barham reviews a case illustrating the dangers and pitfalls of the 1987 Act

Part 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 is a rather obscure piece of legislation that is not as well known by residential landlords as it ought to be. Yet the consequences of non-compliance can be severe, as was illustrated in the recent case of Maloney & ors v Gosal [2011]. Landlords ignore this legislation at their peril.