EG 20-04-19

Property insights
Interesting how the property market is changing. News of the Courts service closing and selling lots of court buildings. Camberwell Green magistrates court  is being turned into 400 one bed flats! The housing market slumps to a 7 year low. A KPMG survey shows that landlords now call tenants ‘customers’ and talk about ‘customer service’ as landlords; Since 54% of employees working from home, real estate has to switch from ‘office’ to ’space as a service - hence the rise of WeWork and others. Property leases have become noticeably shorter, while flexibility, leases rented on an ‘all-in’ basis (rather than rent+Service charge+insurance+dilaps). Record 24 year low for European mall schemes. MEES uncertainty as certificates are renewed and ratings fall. Are solicitors changing their offering to reflect these changes - not from what I can see, sadly.

Legal articles

p.49 Commercial lease negotiations - heads of terms - first of 3 articles about  leases. This one is a must read and deals with the initial negotiations and the need for solicitors to be involved before heads of terms are finalised, as it will be difficult to change the fundamental points on a bad deal afterwards. Also the norm is now 5yr term with a break on year 3, 6 month rent frees, fit-out contributions, monthly rents, schedules of conditions, soft-strip out on end of lease, etc. Break conditions and difficult trading conditions points too. 

P.61 Residential leaseholds. Discusses the public pledge by major landlords and builders to end unfair market practices on residential leases, comments on common hold as a flawed and impractical solution, and makes suggestions for an industry-led solution 

P.52 Practical Completion. Everyone who is dealing with agreements for lease or conditional contracts involving building contracts should read this article as it summarises the current position on the meaning of ‘pc’ and how to deal with defects.

P..54 LPA Receivers - discusses Devon Commercial Property  v Barnett and the position of a mortgagees LPA receiver in selling property and the duty to get best price - not quite as straightforward sometimes

P.54 Discusses Mears v Costplan - latest case on the meaning of practical completion (see above)

P.55 Conflicts of interest for company directors between the company and personal interests and how to deal with them

P.56 How to remedy a defective residential long lease. Looks at the powers of the FTT to vary (where agreement is not possible between the parties) under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987 and other remedies to deal with problems or unfairness in a lease

P.57 Absolute covenants and discrimination. Recent case of the effect on the Equality Act on a lease that had an absolute bar in alterations where the disabled tenant sought permission for alterations that the landlord refused. The court held the landlord had to consent as the tenant was paying for the alterations and the exception in the Act stating that landlords cannot be required to carry out physical alterations therefore did not apply.
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