Latest News

High Court Rules on Energy Efficiency and Loft Insulation

Authored on October 22nd, 2017

In a recent High Court case a manufacturer argued that existing loft insulation methods do not meet environmental protection targets. The case focused on the duties of energy suppliers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and ensure that their customers’ homes are energy efficient.

The manufacturer produced a product used to insulate loft hatch covers. It argued that only such a proprietary product could achieve the level of insulation required to comply with environmental rules and the Building Regulations 2010.

Compliance With the Detail is Essential

Authored on October 22nd, 2017

A recent court decision has highlighted the importance of following the right procedures in the management of payments under building contracts.

An employer disputed a payment application from a contractor and issued a 'pay less' notice.

The timing of the payment application and subsequent pay less notice are important in the case. The payment application was for more than £1 million and was issued in August 2016.  The deadline for serving a pay less notice was 14 August 2016.

Chancellor Hints at Business Rates Reform?

Authored on October 22nd, 2017

The so-called staircase tax could be cut by the end of the year, Philip Hammond has indicated. This follows strong representations being made to Government regarding reform of business rates law.

Developer Successfully Challenges Pub Listing as an Asset of Community Value

Authored on October 22nd, 2017

The Localism Act 2011 enabled pubs to achieve protected status as assets of community value, as they can provide a focus for neighbourhood life. A recent case demonstrates that such listings can be highly inconvenient for potential developers.

A property company had purchased a pub with the intention of demolishing it to make way for a roundabout and 15 homes as part of a proposed 490-home development.  After pressure from local campaigners, the pub had achieved protected status having been listed by the local authority as an asset of community value.

Is a payment for dilapidations to be treated as an income or capital receipt?

Authored on September 14th, 2017

Virtually all leases have clauses which stipulate that when the lease comes to an end, the tenant must leave the premises in the same condition as they were in when they entered them, and the negotiations over the termination of a lease will often involve a payment by the outgoing tenant to take account of the dilapidations.

In principle, the payment from the tenant to the landlord is to put the landlord back in the position it was in at the commencement of the lease: restoring the asset (the leased premises) to its former condition.

Furnished holiday lettings under tax attack

Authored on September 14th, 2017

The United Kingdom has very favourable Inheritance Tax (IHT) treatment for the owners of business assets used in a trade and, in general, the value of these will be outside the charge to IHT on death provided certain criteria are met.

The IHT relief available on business assets is called Business Property Relief (BPR), or Agricultural Property Relief in the case of agricultural assets. It is only available for assets used in a trade, not those used to generate investment income, such as the letting of land.

Tenant fails in asbestos claim

Authored on September 14th, 2017

Decades after the dangers of asbestos were first recognised, the substance has still not been eradicated from some buildings constructed in the 1960s or earlier. A High Court case that should be required reading for residential landlords underlined that the risk of asbestos exposure remains a ticking time bomb even today.

Restrictive covenant prevents development of bungalow

Authored on September 14th, 2017

Planning permission is usually all that you need to turn your development plans into reality – but not always. In one case, a restrictive covenant enshrined in title deeds before the Second World War was enough to defeat proposals for a new bungalow.

Landlord’s Motivation on Redevelopment Lease Renewals is Irrelevant

Authored on August 21st, 2017

A recent case decided by the High Court will (if not overturned on appeal) have potential implications for some commercial tenants seeking renewals of their tenancies.

It involved a dealer in textiles that occupies areas in the ground and basement floors of London’s Cavendish Hotel and which wishes to renew its tenancy relying on the security given by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, which gives such tenants the right to renew their tenancies except in certain circumstances.

18 Month Rule Applies to Service Charges Demanded on Account

Authored on August 21st, 2017

When it comes to issuing service charge demands, landlords must stick to the letter of leases or risk recovering nothing at all – even if that results in tenants receiving an unwarranted windfall. The Court of Appeal made that point in relieving a residential tenant of liability to pay service charges over a four-year period.