PropertyLaw.guru Blog

EG 13-04-19

Not much in the surveying section of interest except a couple of articles about Channel 4 moving to Leeds and bit about Debenhams

Legal section
p.47 Business Rates - local authorities are losing money with business rates avoidance schemes - and this article looks about the insolvent tenant scheme just tested in the courts. The Court of Appeal found the scheme worked in Rossendale Borough Council v Hurstwood Properties. So much is at stake here there may be an appeal to the Supreme Court, or the government may legislate against the scheme. Basically you grant a  lease to an SPV with no assets and then put it into voluntary liquidation, meaning the insolvent company claims relief from rates, and the property owner escapes liability all together! Simples? We shall see..

P.51 Neighbours and noise nuisance - issues raised by the Fearn v Tate Modern viewing gallery case. Urban areas have to tolerate more nuisance and overlooking it seems, and also does it mean you may have to tolerate more if you have created your own sensitivity  to the noise?

P.52 Forfeiture of a long ground-rent lease for breach of covenant? SHB Realisations v Cribbs is a tenants nightmare. Will a lender lose a leasehold property that cost £7m  for failing to keep open a BHS store in breach of a keep-open covenant? Windfall for the reversioner? The court exercised its discretion to give relief but only if the tenant finds an assignee in the next three months - in a very difficult market. Scary reading.

P.54 Jervis v Harris enter-and-repair clauses in leases. Brainy debate about whether they work as a self-help tool for a landlord who wants to get in, remedy the disrepair and claim the cost off the tenant as a contractual debt under this common lease clause. Good explanation of the arguments for and against.

p.56 Conservation covenants have been proposed by the Law Commission in a consultation paper that may result in new legislation. Unlike normal positive freehold covenants, positive conservation covenants will be enforceable against future owners of the land  or long-term tenants. These covenants could require payment of money for maintenance of flood management or infrastructure and would be enforced by public bodies and community interest groups. This could be the biggest change to positive covenants since 1925!

P.57 Construction Act adjudication of building contracts v  the insolvency regime. Good one for construction lawyers and insolvency specialists. My eyes had glazed over by the fourth paragraph..
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