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Property Law Journal: June 2015

Matthew Stimson looks at changes to the planning system introduced shortly before the general election and predicts that the new government’s policies will continue in this direction

In the field of town and country planning at least, the election of the new Conservative government must surely mean that we carry on as before. The major innovations of the last government (neighbourhood planning, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and abolition of regional strategies) were largely a product of pledges contained in the 2010 Conservative manifesto. Even the community infrastructure levy (CIL), which was introduced under Labour before the 2010 general election, was retained and refined under the coalition and therefore looks set to remain under the new government. No major innovations were proposed by the Conservatives this time around.

Douglas Rhodes reports on landlords’ options for the recovery of legal costs in residential service charge disputes at the First-tier Tribunal

The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT), whose functions were in 2013 transferred to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (FTT), was originally set up as a less formal, low-cost alternative to the courts for resolving certain types of property disputes. In its current guise as the FTT, service charge disputes heard by the tribunal can involve large amounts of service charges, and the legal costs of preparing and presenting a case before the FTT can be substantial.

John Starr

A recent case has held that a parking charge was commercially justifiable, and not a penalty. John Starr outlines the case and how it affects liquidated damages clauses in construction contracts

The Court of Appeal has finally reached its long-awaited decision in the case of the motorist who overstayed his welcome in a car park and was charged a fee of £85 for the privilege.

William Bethune and Gillian Palmer consider a Court of Appeal case that has held that only tenants of single blocks can exercise the right to manage under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002

The Court of Appeal’s decision in Triplerose Ltd v Ninety Broomfield Road RTM Co Ltd [2015] has, at least for the time being, ended the debate on the extent of tenants’ autonomy under the Right to Manage (RTM) regime under Part 2 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (CLRA), which intended to allow long leaseholders to step into the shoes of their landlords when they exercise the RTM.

Rebecca Francis reviews whether the new Deregulation Act is cause for concern to landlords

In recent years, residential landlords have found themselves operating against a landscape of increasing regulatory burden and complexity. The Housing Act 2004 (HA 2004) (as amended) introduced the requirement to protect deposits on assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in a tenancy deposit scheme (TDS). Since then, tenants have been looking to even minor, technical non-compliance as a reason to resist section 21 notices. Recent cases have introduced uncertainties and risks for landlords that are unlikely to have been intended by the HA 2004.

RPC

Alexandra Anderson and Sarah Hennessy discuss the pitfalls surrounding collection of service charges by property managers

One of the biggest risks to professionals involved in residential property management arises from the collection of service charge payments.

With the compliance deadline for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014 coming at the end of the year, Malcolm Dowden assesses their implications

Energy performance and efficiency has become a major regulatory and compliance issue for business in the UK. Since 2008 energy performance certificates (EPCs) have been required on the construction, substantial alteration, sale or letting of most commercial buildings. Since 2010 energy consumption has been subject to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, which requires the purchase and surrender of allowances to cover specified fuels. Now, businesses must also consider whether they fall within the stringent, but poorly drafted, requirements of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014 (ESOS).