PropertyLaw.guru Blog

EG 14-03-20

News
Budget of course - abolish rates for RVs less than £51k, though most retailers wanted a higher threshold
Birmingham - office out, resi in - sites earmarked for office in the centre are now pushing for a residential & build for rent use!. A ‘wall of money’ from investors awaits such schemes

Legal
p.171 A second brilliant MEES article that is a must read showing with practical examples what the unexpected effect is on tenant’s alterations and fit outs at the end of the lease. Too often these are dealt with by solicitors as tedious trainee fodder but the complexities MEES can cause means you have to warn clients to treat the drafting seriously. It affects rent reviews, service charges and dilaps. It could destroy the value of the landlord’s building. You should read this articles if you are dealing with these.

p.173 Biodiversity. The Environment Bill requires all new developments to provide a 10% gain in biodiversity, and maintain it for 30 years! Explains what this means, what will be affected, and the impact on brownfield sites, and other consequences, such as more management companies for open spaces areas

p.p.175 Neighbour disputes in Scotland compared to E&W. There are no Rights of Light there, but daylight and sunlight are a planning issue.  There is no Party Wall act either, worth reading for non-Scots as it outlines the English issues too. 

p.176 Open Space. Renew Land Developments v Welsh Ministers [2020] EWCA Civ 143. A develop applied for planning permission of 4 ha, of which 0.85 ha was regarded as ‘open space’ and the loss of this meant the application was refused. The developer pointed out that it was not subject to any public rights and they could fence it off and it wouldn’t be available to the public at all. Despite this CA held it was still ‘open space’ as visual amenity so the refusal of application for development was upheld!

p.176 ‘Appropriation’ is a word only used by local government lawyers and usually refers to the purpose for which a parcel of land it earmarked for, such as housing or education or highways. Usually there is a council resolution and accounting adjustments  (and occasionally I have seen it even mentioned on the title!) There is no general definition or case law until R (Adamson) v Kirklees MBC [2020] EWCA Civ 154. The land in question had been bought by the council in 1920 under statutory powers by a private act of parliament. It had not bought it to use as allotments but it had been used as such since 1930s. If it has been ‘appropriated’ for that purpose it couldn’t be used for another purpose under the Allotments Act 1925 (without ministerial consent). The court, reviewing the history and a planning scheme zoning it for that use in 1935 but held that wasn’t anything to do with land ownership so had not ‘appropriated it’ for that purpose. Documents from the 1950s indicated the council had not regarded it as appropriated and there were no records of resolutions to do so or inferences, so the council was free to use it for educational purposes as proposed without ministerial consent!

p.177 New Mayor of London standardised document templates for mobile phone infrastructure agreements and leases, such as for a lease of a rooftop site, and a Greenfield site, but are not suitable for fixed line broadband (but the City of London have a toolkit for these. There has been extensive consultation and they should be suitable for operators and are Telecoms Code compliant. The article explains the key points. They can be downloaded from 

p.178     Another Telecoms Code case - Cornerstone v Ashloch [2019] UKUT 338. Any ‘occupier’ eg licencee or tenant can grant rights, but the superior interest holder can terminate the rights at the end of their occupation. But the operator can apply for temporary rights under para 27 to keep its kit on the land in the short term while it secures rights against the senior interest holder who is now the occupier. Explains tactics for both sides - failure by freeholders to act could be costly.

p.179 Pease v Carter [2020] EWCA Civ 175. Another case on bad notices (when will people learn to instruct a property litigator to do it properly and save hem thousands of pounds on litigation when their home-brew notice turns out to be a duffer?) This one was a s.8 on an AST. The date was wrong (a year early!). In this case the ‘reasonable recipient’ test in Mannai was held to apply to statutory notices. Important guidance was given by Arnold J on how to apply the test.
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