Estates Gazette articles 1st December 2018

p.32 Interesting (non-law) article about ‘clicks-and-mortar’ retailers (get up to date with the jargon whose businesses are a mix of online and in-store retail), in British Land’s huge Sheffield Meadowhall shopping centre - where the tenants rents are turnover based. But one tenant Joe Browns is 90% online, so how do you factor that in when you are drafting the turnover rent clause? Food for thought.

P.37. Non law article by Savills director - Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, International investors from Asia, China, Hong Hong and South Korea are buying lots of London investment property. London’s property is seen as a global safe haven, because of the ease of buying a selling here, plus the transaction costs are low, and the lease and  legal system is more  landlord friendly than other European cities, with better yields

P.39. Non-law article - there is a chronic undersupply of storage warehousing and logistics parks in the country as everyone switches to online buying, Amazon changing the face of retail, and a chronic oversupply of retail shops - witness the string of closures over the last year or two. Traditional retailers like H&M Lidl etc are buying big warehouses and logistics. Amazon has looked at converting Homebase sheds! The sobering thought is-  will you find that in two years time your comm prop work will not be the usual diet of retail leases but instead sheds and storage - and do you know enough about what these clients want to be able to deal with this legal work? Conversion is better than construction so clients may want to buy empty retail to convert to logistics. Do you know enough about the planning or legal requirements to be able to deal with this?

P.53 Land agreements and Competition Law. Lease use restrictions, hours of trading, service charges alterations, alienation clauses are all subject to the Competition law - the Competition and Markets Authority recently levied a £1.6m fine in relation to a restriction in a hotel lease in Heathrow! The clause prevented the hotel from charging non-guests using the terminal 5 hotel car park less than the rate charged by Heathrow Airport’s other car park. If you had drafted that relatively minor clause in the lease the client may be asking you to pay the fine for failing to advise on the possibility of it being in breach of competition law! Learn more about this to prevent negligence claims. Comm Prop is not just ‘processing paper’ when the client says ‘I just want the keys’.

P.55 Brexit and dilapidations (!). Good explanation of the key points on end-of lease dilapidations and want of repair claims by landlords 

P. 56 Bitcoin and property transactions. Looks at the practical problems if you want to use Bitcoin to pay for property transactions 

P.58 Cash machines are not subject to separate business rates to the shop or filing station (for example) in which they are located, said the CA in this big (in the rating world)  case affecting over 16,000 rating appeals 

P.59 EPC and the private rented section (PRS). The new proposals are that landlords of residential property will be requried to spend up to £3,500 on improvements listed in the EPC recommendation report on any F or G property before letting it, to bring it up to E, and if this isn’t enough, they will have to apply for an exemption. There are 290,000 such properties! The date in 2019 from which this will apply will be some time after 1st April 2019. Do your buy-let landlord clients realise this?

P.60 Three recent decisions involving Transport for London illustrate the importance of a costs strategy before the Upper Tribunal

P. 61 Unfair terms in Lease Extensions. Looks at the care of Jones v Roundlstic, 2018, was a lease covenant preventing the flat from being used for any purpose  other than a single private family occupation unfair - it had been included in the new lease obtained under the statutory powers. CA  held that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts did not apply to leases which were agreed by the parties and then granted  pursuant to statutory terms.  Worth a read!

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