Background

The case of Messenex Limited v Lanark Square Limited[2024] presents both landlords and tenants with a few illustrations of how not to run an application for consent to alterations. 

Facts

The Tenant held a two hundred year lease of a mixed use building in Docklands, London, and made two separate applications for a licence to alter in respect of two sets of works for which it had already obtained planning permission.  The first was to add three stories to the four storey block, adding a total of nine flats to the building.  The second – a smaller project – was to reconfigure the ground floor of the building as four new residential units in place of the existing offices.   

Continue Reading “Reasonable Reasons” and Collateral Advantage – not a numbers game

In a recent decision of the High Court in R (Aysen Dennis) v London Borough of Southwark, Holgate J held that an outline planning permission for a large-scale mixed use regeneration project in South London could not be regarded as “severable” so as to allow a developer to carry out one phase of the development under a separate “drop-in” permission.

The developer had obtained outline planning permission in 2015 for the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark. Following the grant of the permission, the Council’s Local Plan adopted policies increasing the requirement for new homes and affordable housing. To meet these new requirements the developer needed to exceed the parameters for development (including height of buildings) approved under the outline permission. They obtained a separate “drop-in” permission to allow this but wanted to build out the rest of the development under the outline planning permission.

Continue Reading High Court judgment restricts use of “drop-in” permissions

Introduction

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has not been shy in putting forward his intention of “destroying the outdated feudal system of leasehold“, at least as far as residential property is concerned.  The Leasehold and Freehold Bill (“LAFB”), announced in the King’s speech which opened the new parliamentary session, falls some way short of this intention.  However, it does show Mr Gove’s continuing intention to introduce measures which he claims are fairer for residential long leaseholders.  Landlords may have a different perspective. 

Nor are tenants left out:  the Renters (Reform) Bill is back centre stage.  Below, we take a closer look at the proposed legislation.

Continue Reading The King’s Speech: no tidings of great joy for landlords

The Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (the “Act”) was intended to give tenants security of tenure to carry on their businesses without the disruption of relocation and the attendant risk of loss of goodwill. However, the interests of the landlord in maximising the value of its own premises were also considered in the Act, with provision that a landlord may recover possession if (amongst other grounds) it can prove the intention to redevelop the premises. A recent High Court decision has provided an interesting (and from a landlord’s perspective, welcome) steer on the weight the court gives to a landlord’s future right to redevelop.

Continue Reading Landlord gets second chance after missing crucial date in lease renewal proceedings

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the “Act”) created the Register of Overseas Entities (“ROE”) at Companies House to make it more difficult for bad actors to launder dirty money through property in the UK and to increase transparency around property ownership.  Most overseas entities (“OEs”) with legal or beneficial interests in UK registered property were required to register on the ROE by 31 January 2023. OEs acquiring UK land for the first time must also ensure that they are registered on the ROE before making an application to HM Land Registry to register their purchase.  

Continue Reading The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022

In the case of Pretoria Energy Company (Chittering) Ltd v Blankney Estates Ltd [2023], the claimant brought a claim for damages of almost six million pounds against the defendant for breach of a contract to enter into a twenty five year lease, allegedly created between the parties in a document entitled “Heads of Terms of Proposed Agreement”.

Continue Reading Documents containing heads of terms do not constitute a binding agreement for lease

Mainstream media has been very excited about the “once in a generation” reform of the law for private renters to be introduced by the Renters (Reform) Bill 2023 (the “Bill”).  However, landlords do not need to panic – yet.  Legislatively, the Bill has only just had its first reading in the Commons, and even when – or if – it makes it to the statute books, there will be transitionary periods which will give landlords time to decide whether they wish to remain in the private rented sector. 

Below, we take a landlord’s perspective of what the new legislation might mean.

Continue Reading Renters (Reform) Bill 2023: a long way to go

The Curry Mile in Manchester is a stretch of the Wilmslow Road, leading from the city centre to the suburbs. It is lined with restaurants, cafes and shops from all parts of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Afghan restaurants rub shoulders with Bangladeshi sweet shops and continental stores display fruit and vegetables on pavement stands to tempt in the passers-by who are a mix of locals and students from Manchester’s two universities.

Compliance with planning regulations is not the chief concern of the restauranteurs, bartenders and shopkeepers, but a very recent sentencing decision of HHJ Timothy Smith at Manchester Crown Court illustrates starkly that a landlord cannot allow its tenant to disregard planning controls and ignore planning enforcement

Continue Reading “Hot” Rent – Landlord finds rent confiscated as proceeds of crime

In the last of our blogs on developments in planning law in 2022, we consider the extent to which you can change the development for which planning permission has been given without the need to make a new application for a full planning permission.

The Reid Case – The facts

The issue was considered in the High Court case of Reid v Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (2022) (“Reid“).

Continue Reading Our top 6 Planning Law takeaways for 2022 – Part 6: How to get a new planning permission without applying for it

In the fifth of our blogs on recent developments in planning law, we turn our attention to the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022 introduced by Jacob Rees-Mogg at the height of the Truss premiership in September 2022. 

Described by Professor Michael Zander KC as “one of the worst pieces of legislation I can remember in some 60 years of following the law-making process“, the Bill seeks to deliver on the Brexit promise of taking back control of our legislation.

Continue Reading Our top 6 Planning Law takeaways for 2022 – Part 5: Retained EU Law Repeal Bill