Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Property Law Journal: April 2014

A recent Court of Appeal ruling has called a stop to company administrations that were tactically timed to fall after rent quarter dates. Bryan Johnston explains

The Court of Appeal has held that where a leasehold property is used for the purposes of administration, rent is to be paid to the landlord as an expense of administration for the period that the property is beneficially retained.

Birketts LLP

As of early April, a landlord’s ancient right to distrain for rent arrears is to be abolished. Laura Tanguay addresses some of the shortcomings of the new regime

On 6 April 2014 a landlord’s right to distrain for rent arrears will finally be abolished by s71 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. While you could be forgiven for thinking that this is old news, given that the legislation has been in existence for seven years, the effects will be very current, and, unfortunately, there are still some issues to be addressed with the new regime.

Andrew Olins assesses a recent case with a clear warning for developers who fail to obtain an NDA from their potential funders

That’s the lesson all developers should learn from the recent case of Dorchester Group v BNP Paribas Real Estate and Inter-IKEA [2014]. The case concerned the purchase by Inter-IKEA in July 2010 of a 13-acre development site at Sugar House Lane, Stratford (the site) next to the Olympic Park in July 2010. The purchase occurred after the site’s previous owners, Sassafras, went into administration and LPA receivers were appointed to dispose of the site. Dorchester had previously reached an advanced stage in negotiations with Sassafras to enter into a joint venture to develop the site, or to purchase it from them. Accordingly, Dorchester had acquired substantial knowledge of the site and the possibilities and challenges it offered to a developer. When the receivers began marketing the site, Dorchester was naturally interested in buying it, and in December 2009 submitted a bid of £21m. That bid led to Dorchester being named as preferred bidder.

Forsters LLP

Flood risk investigations are now an intrinsic part of the conveyancing process, but to what extent do solicitors need to advise their clients and what are the implications of forthcoming changes to flood insurance? Hannah Kramer reports

The winter of 2013/14 has proved to be one of the wettest on record for England and Wales, and the extensive flooding across much of the country has dominated the news headlines. At the time of writing, the Association of British Insurers have said that the cost of this extreme winter weather to insurers will be more than £800m, and the Environment Agency are still issuing flood alerts for the South East and South West of England, highlighting on their website that this was the wettest January in 250 years. Unfortunately, the latest flooding continues the trend toward an increased incidence of flooding in the UK in recent years. Many parts of the country experienced flash flooding in 2000, with further flooding affecting 55,000 properties in the summer of 2007 (the same year Rihanna’s aptly named hit song Umbrella dominated the charts for ten consecutive weeks), and the Environment Agency estimates that the cost for all properties affected by the severe flooding in 2012 reached £277m. The forecast for the rest of 2014 looks set to remain wet in some parts of the country, even if the rain holds off, given current groundwater levels in some areas.

Daniel Gatty reviews the outcome of the decision in Coventry v Lawrence and its implications for nuisance claims

In Coventry v Lawrence [2014], a decision handed down in February, the Supreme Court reviewed the law on nuisance by interference with enjoyment and the test for granting damages in lieu of injunction. The Court’s conclusions on various aspects of nuisance will be of considerable interest to anyone dealing with such claims, whether the nuisance is in the form of noise as in this case or dust, odours, vibrations or similar. The Court’s comments on the discretion to award damages instead of an injunction may have a far wider effect. In particular, they are likely to be welcomed by developers.

Rosalind Andrews considers current planning policy on green belt protection, and the conflicting needs of meeting current housing shortages and protection of the countryside

On 7 March 2014 the Department for Communities and Local Government released their statistical report relating to the green belt in England for 2012/13.

John Starr

John Starr examines a case where one of the parties to the dispute sought to use a letter of intent to start adjudication proceedings

It has often been said that clarity is at the heart of the requirements for a well-drafted construction contract, and that clarity brings certainty, and that certainty is the most important attribute for both parties.