Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Property Law Journal: October 2015
Forsters LLP

Natasha Rees considers a case where precarious rights in leases and the test of the equivalence as set out in the 1993 Act came under the spotlight

It is often the case in collective enfranchisement claims that issues arise about what can be included within the claim. This is particularly the case with larger developments or blocks where tenants are able to use communal areas and gardens. In a recent appeal to the Upper Tribunal an issue arose concerning communal land that was claimed as additional freehold land by the tenants, but which the landlord wanted to retain in order to redevelop. The landlord sought to retain the freehold of the land in question by offering rights over the land instead, which would allow future redevelopment. The decision, known as Snowball Assets Ltd v Huntsmore House (Freehold) Ltd [2015], highlights a problem concerning precarious rights and how these should be dealt with in collective enfranchisement claims.

John Starr

John Starr outlines a case highlighting the need for unambiguous interim payment applications in order to attract the provisions of the 1996 Construction Act

In last month’s column, ‘Challenging perceptions’ (PLJ334, September 2015, p20), one of the cases I looked at was the recent case of Caledonian Modular Ltd v Mar City Developments Ltd [2015]. What was most interesting about that case, in the context of challenging perceptions, was the fact that the court had refused to enforce an adjudicator’s decision on the ground that the adjudicator had got it wrong. What the adjudicator had got wrong was his classification of an amended payment application as a separate, valid application for payment in its own right, which required service of a separate payless notice not to be payable in full. This was an interesting example of the court taking a distinct, self-contained point and deciding on it in the context of an enforcement hearing.

Jamie Lockerbie and Susanne Andreasen review a decision of the High Court that relates to planning requirements for small sites

A recent decision of the High Court, West Berkshire District Council v Department for Communities and Local Government [2015], saw the government forced to withdraw a planning policy exempting small housing sites from affordable housing requirements and a policy on vacant building credit.

Rebecca Mushing provides an update on recent developments in affordable housing and questions their long-term implications

The past couple of months have seen big changes for affordable housing. Firstly the extension to the right to buy, more recently the quashing of national planning policy guidance, and finally the budget announcement that affordable housing rents are to reduce by 1% a year over the next four years. Following the previous article on the right to buy principle (‘The right to buy social housing’ by Tim Willis and David Perry, PLJ333, July/August 2015, p19), this article looks at the more recent changes and how they may impact on developers, councils and registered providers alike.

When falling service standards in the County Court impact on access to justice then it is time for solicitors to say something, writes Keith Conway

The 1,200 members of the Property Litigation Association (PLA) spend at least 50% of their time dealing with property disputes, frequently in the County Court. In response to mounting frustrations and clients’ concerns about the quality of the County Court service, the PLA has launched an initiative to encourage court users to give case-specific feedback on their experiences (good and bad). That received so far supports the widespread anecdotal evidence of repeated and significant administrative failings, unacceptable delays and clients losing faith in the civil justice system. It is hoped that by collating and presenting this feedback, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) will be better able to target real areas for improvement.

First money laundering, then mortgage fraud, and now conveyancer hacking. Alasdair Urwin and Sandip Singh explain the latest fraud risks of which lenders, borrowers and conveyancers should be aware

Many of us are familiar with ‘phishing’. This is the means by which fraudsters acquire sensitive information, such as bank account details, by posing as a known or trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. We are alive to the risks to a certain extent, and we generally think twice before revealing sensitive or financial details online or in response to unexpected or unsolicited correspondence.

Birketts LLP

Charlotte Wormstone and Alice Harris examine those provisions coming into force in October 2015

The Deregulation Act 2015 (the Act) is wide-ranging in scope but does contain rather a significant degree of legislative provisions which directly impact upon landlords of residential property.

Nabarro LLP

A recent Supreme Court ruling took a very literal approach to the interpretation of service charge provisions. Robin Biela assesses the judgment and its implications

In Arnold v Britton [2015] the Supreme Court travelled the roads of contractual interpretation using chalet leases in a caravan park as its departure point. Would the stick of literalism be jammed into the wheels of commercial common sense?