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Property Law Journal: 6 February 2012

Kim Teichmann provides an overview of the changes introduced to the 1996 Act and what they mean in practice

On 1 October 2011 some important changes to the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (the Construction Act) came into force. Yet, despite these fundamental changes, which require construction contracts entered into after 1 October 2011 to be compliant with the new Construction Act, parties are not using updated contracts. Surprisingly, we are still seeing JCT 2009 contracts being presented for signature instead of the updated JCT 2011 contracts, which are Construction Act compliant.

Richard Bartle and Dr Keith Shaw analyse how developers are responding to the courts’ more robust treatment of those who deliberately breach their neighbours’ legal rights

In a decision of the Land Tribunal last year, George Wimpey Bristol Ltd v Gloucestershire Housing Association Ltd [2011], the tribunal refused to exercise its discretion under s84(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925, to discharge or modify a restrictive covenant that prohibited the construction of buildings on a parcel of development land (the application land). George Wimpey Bristol Ltd had already substantially constructed various buildings, and the covenant was therefore substantially breached, by the time the application was heard.

Can an equitable mortgage take priority over a legal mortgage where it is only protected by the registration of a notice? Laurie Heller discusses a case with a surprising outcome

It must now be a rare experience to see a mortgage intended to be equitable only. The classic example of an equitable mortgage by design was by a deposit of deeds, accompanied by a short memorandum of deposit. Banks used them for simplicity and speed to secure overdrafts or short-term loans. They fell by the wayside with the enactment of s2, Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989; they did not comply in most cases with the formalities laid down by the section as not containing all the terms expressly agreed. Banks ceased to use this mode of charge. If one is to go to the trouble of setting out all the terms agreed, one might as well use a fully-fledged charge by way of legal mortgage.

Cobbetts LLP

Jeremy Steele reviews the decision in Avocet and its implications for landlords and tenants

The law reports over the last three years have been littered with reported cases arising out of break notices that have been served by tenants who wish to bring leases to an end, the terms of which were negotiated at a time when market conditions were considerably more favourable for landlords than for tenants.

James Farrell, Michael Mendelblat and Emily Lew explore a spate of recent case law relating to expert determination

Expert determination remains an important mechanism for the resolution of certain property disputes. The following cases provide an overview of the issue of jurisdiction.

Paul Tonkin summarises recent case law developments

The following provides an overview of some of the salient decisions of 2011.