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?

In a survey carried out by HSBC in 2023, 97% of real estate developers and investors said net zero was important to their business and 59% of the largest real estate companies said net zero was their top priority.

A third of companies in the sector already have Transition Plans and the push for formalising Transition Plans across the sector is increasing.

In April 2024, the Transition Plan Taskforce (“TPT”) published its final set of transition plan resources to help businesses transition to net zero. Continue Reading Transition Plans & Real Estate

Background

The decision of the First-Tier Tribunal (the “Tribunal“) in Triathlon Homes LLP v Stratford Village Development Partnership and others [2024] provides the first indication of how the Tribunal will consider applications for remediation contribution orders (“RCOs“) made against a developer and its ultimate parent company.

The Facts

Stratford Village Development Partnership (“SVDP“) developed buildings in Stratford, East London as part of an athletes’ village for the London 2012 Olympic Games. SVDP subsequently retrofitted this village into a large permanent residential estate known as East Village which provided affordable homes, mostly contained in 66 residential buildings of between 8 and 12 storeys in height. This case concerned five of these buildings.Continue Reading Remediation Contribution Orders: An Olympic decision against developers and their parent companies

One of the key parts of the Building Safety Act 2022 is the new Gateway regime for ‘higher risk buildings’, which came into full force on 1 October 2023  This is a three step approval process that is intended to ensure that, in the post-Grenfell landscape, building safety risks are properly scrutinised by the new Building Safety Regulator (the “BSR”) at the planning, design and construction phases of a development of a ‘higher risk building’ (or when carrying out  works to an existing ‘higher risk building’). Continue Reading Getting to grips with the new Building Safety Act Gateway regime – how will this impact development in the living sector?

Background

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

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