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Property Law Journal: November 2016

Katie Gray reviews a recent case that considers the competing interests of freeholders and RTM companies

Francia Properties Ltd v Aristou & ors [2016] is a first instance decision of Mr Recorder Morgan sitting at the county court in Central London. While only a county court decision, it is of interest to property practitioners firstly because it is the only known decided case on the question of competing interests between freeholders and Right to Manage (RTM) companies, and secondly because permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal under the ‘leapfrog’ provisions of CPR r52.14(1)(a) has been granted.

Martin McKeague provides tips on exercising commercial lease breaks

Focusing on the core of a business can be a sensible strategy when it comes to improving efficiency. It is therefore often a strategy that is adopted in times of economic decline or uncertainty. A recent survey (‘The Elephant in the Room: provisions of leasehold liabilities by FTSE 350 companies’) on corporate real estate usage and surplus property in the years 2012-14 concluded that, despite the intentions of many businesses to drive down overheads and to concentrate resources on their core following the 2008 financial crisis, many corporates have not yet made significant changes to their property usage, so as to increase efficiency and reduce rental commitment. In the wake of the Brexit result on 23 June 2016, the economic outlook is uncertain. That means that businesses may increasingly look to their property portfolios to see whether divesting of any surplus could be a means of saving cash. In light of the current climate, and recent case law, I will provide some practical advice for businesses considering their lease break options.

Andrew Williams explores a landlord’s remedies for tenant disrepair during a tenancy

It is easy to empathise with the landlord of commercial premises who discovers that its tenant has allowed the building to fall into disrepair. But what remedies does it have when the lease is not due to expire any time soon?

Should a vendor’s solicitor be under the same scrutiny as those representing the purchaser? Mary Young and Ben Hillman discuss

Victims of identity theft or modern scams frequently suffer more inconvenience and stress than permanent financial loss. Customers of financial institutions and law firms can rely on safeguards in any number of transactions when falling victim to fraud or dishonesty. Liability, particularly where the underlying perpetrator is a speck on the horizon, increasingly lands at the door of professional advisers and their insurers. Quite recently, the High Court ruled that both the vendor’s and purchaser’s solicitors may be on the hook in certain property transactions.


Alex Anderson and Claire McNicholl report on a case which raises points of concern for valuers

Valuers should exercise caution concerning the scope of the duty they owe to their clients following the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in the matter of Tiuta International Ltd (In Liquidation) v De Villiers Surveyors Ltd [2016].


Katie Scuoler examines the compulsory purchase changes set out in the Housing and Planning Act 2016

Pressure has been mounting for change in the world of compulsory purchase legislation for many years. The early part of the 21st century saw a flurry of reports and reviews calling for a simplification and codification of the compulsory purchase regime. Minor changes – informed by the work of the Compulsory Purchase Policy Review Advisory Group – were introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The drafting of those reforms, however, pre-dated the conclusions of the Law Commission’s final report, ‘Towards a Compulsory Purchase Code’. Shifting priorities in the wake of that report pushed compulsory purchase reform into the long grass

John Starr

John Starr makes the case for a properly documented construction contract

The case for a properly documented contract of any kind is fairly compelling when it is well known that contractual uncertainty leads to disagreements, disputes and ultimately expense. All the more so, one might think, when that uncertainty might strike at the very heart of the dispute resolution process available to the parties.