PropertyLaw.guru Blog

EG 04-07-20

Not so much covid news this week. Talent supplement is interesting reading about the new skills employees need to deal with the post covid world - home working etc, leadership, unlocking diversity, how to use zoom meetings and be effective - being clear, direct and warm.

Legal
p.83 Covid & Dilaps claims.  Good article looking at th defences and arguments may arise from the pandemic.  Supervening events could suspend parts of the lease, does cv make it impossible or merely expensive to comply? Also quantum issues - s.18 caps on dilaps claims & ‘supercession’ arguments may be affected by arguments that no-one would repair the property if it was possibly the property may be redeveloped for a different use given the collapse of certain markets, or the property’s layout may need to be changed to accommodate new working practices or distancing. Alterations problems - what reinstatement would L seek, reasonably - perhaps installed partitions should stay in to separate staff, and not be taken out? Also s.18 cap doesn’t apply to reinstate alterations - its the common law - would it have been reasonable for the L to do they work?

p.85 Turnover leases are predicted to be returning to balance the risk between L & T. Basic explanation of how they work, the problems of catching online sales, returns, caps and floor rents, service costs, possibly longer terms, with security of tenure, and rights to renew if Ts are to invest in property and share the profits with L.

p.86 Covid and improvements in Air Quality resulting from lock-down, the obligations under the Air Quality Directive 2008 will remain post Brexit. If the relevant Local Authority finds the air quality is not meeting national objectives they must prepare an Air Quality Action Plan, and this is reflected in National Planning policy NPPF. Planning decisions must take this into account, and this can mean complexity and delay, or even a moratorium on new developments. Traffic restrictions and car-free developments are common, removal of parking spaces, etc, improvements to cycleways, EV charging points, etc 

p.88 Affordable homes - how have recent changes incl on the right to buy affected local authority development programmes? From 2012 LAs were allowed to use receipts from RTB sales but they could only use it to pay 30% of the costs, and if they couldn’t use it (as they didn’t have the cash to pay the rest) it goes back to the Treasury with interest! [Ridiculous iMHO] Explores the many problems trying t get round such capital controls. Calls for LAs to be able to borrow from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) at cheap rates to build social housing. Also the use of prefabricated factory built modules

SDLT Excellent article about the higher rates of SDLT (STOP CALLING IT ’STAMP DUTY’ EVERYONE - ITS NOT A DUTY, ITS A *TAX*, AND THERE HAVEN'T BEEN STAMPS PUT ON ANYTHING FOR 17 YEARS) Sorry, need to get that out my system. Its one of the most complex and challenging every-day taxes that solicitors have been getting wrong on an industrial scale since it came in. The Higher rates are particularly a risk and negligence area to watch out for. An excellent summary of the usual scenarios that trigger the tax - renting out your old home rather than selling it, parents ‘gifting deposits’ to children won’t trigger unless there is a bare trust in there, retaining shares in the former matrimonial home & property adjustment orders, buying on bare trust for another who owns another property (to try and avoid the surcharge - doesn’t work), overseas property, transfer of mortgaged property to former spouse, etc. There will be another article next week

p.90 Where next for planning resulting from Covid?  General thoughtful article on the direction planing should take, considering traffic, placemaking, houses that facilitate home working - office type spaces not bedrooms and attics, bigger gardens, etc

p.91 Dhillon v Barclays Bank [2020] EWCA 619 gave guidance on what circumstances will justify a decision to refuse to rectify a mistake in the registers of title. Fraud related - H bought an RTB house that W was entitled to, in Ws name, unknown to her, by forging her name and then selling it to a company which then mortgaged it. The Crown disclaimed the property when the company was struck off. W then somehow got an order vesting the £1m property in her name (WTF - why and how is it right that  a RTB tenant should get a £1M property?), but subject to the charge of £650k. Could the register be rectified to remove the charge? Its worth reading the reasons why the court decided this was ‘exceptional circumstances’ justifying the refusal to rectify the register to remove the charge.
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