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Gillian Palmer is the professional support lawyer in the London office of Mayer Brown’s Real Estate practice.  She focuses on providing innovative solutions to lawyers within the practice in respect of training and innovation.

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As the rain streamed down, Rishi Sunak stood outside Downing Street and announced that Parliament will be dissolved on 30 May 2024 ahead of the General Election on 4 July.  However, no parliamentary business can be carried out after 24 May when Parliament is prorogued (suspended). Continue Reading Where now for the Renters’ (Reform) Bill and the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill?


Cases on failure to complete sale and purchase contracts of land are not uncommon.  Much rarer are disputes over the consequences of failure to pay the required deposit when the contract is formed, because the mechanics of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions require payment by electronic means from the buyer’s conveyancer on the same day as exchange of contracts.  The involvement of conveyancers therefore minimises any possibility of default by the buyer. 

The case of IAA Vehicle Services Limited v HBC Limited [2024] EWHC 1 (Ch) is one of those rare cases and provides an opportunity to remind ourselves of the usefulness of the court’s equitable discretion in certain circumstances . Continue Reading It all depends – time is not always of the essence in contracts for the sale of land


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. 


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


Cabinet minister Michael Gove has not been shy in putting forward his intention of “destroying the outdated feudal system of leasehold“, at least as far as residential property is concerned.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

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

“Pay Now, Argue Later”: tenant-friendly interpretation of service charge provisions provides grist for disputes


This case is of interest because commercial service charges are very rarely reviewed by the Supreme Court.  The majority decision gives a surprisingly tenant-friendly view on what was a very traditionally worded service charge schedule.  As a result, landlords are now at risk of more pushback and argument from their tenants about the service charges they pay.Continue Reading Sara & Hossein Asset Holdings Limited v Blacks Outdoor Retail Limited [2023] UKSC 2


English property law has developed a sophisticated system of property rights in land, to enable joint ownership of land and to regulate successive interests in the same land over a period of time.  This was largely achieved by the recognition of an additional type of interest in land, separate from the legal title. An equitable interest could, in certain circumstances, be untethered from the legal title and become a separate right.  This is seen most often in situations where two or more parties own land together.  They are joint legal owners – both names will appear on the title register – but they also hold the entire beneficial interest on trust for each other.Continue Reading No going back: the transfer of beneficial interests in land