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

Admittedly, a blog on the intricacies of the Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL“) doesn’t sound like a very appealing prospect, but everyone needs their medicine occasionally.

In December 2022, the Court of Appeal had to consider the legal consequences of a local authority’s failure to serve a CIL liability notice and the question of whether the local authority could correct the defects in an earlier notice by serving a revised CIL liability notice.

Continue Reading Our top 6 Planning Law takeaways in 2022 – Part 4: What happens if the local authority gets its CIL paperwork wrong?

We often get asked, when clients are faced with obstinate and, frankly, slow local authorities dealing with planning applications or s106 agreements, whether we can threaten legal action (other than planning appeals).  Most of the time this is just letting off steam, but what is the answer?

A recent 140-page judgment in the case of Primavera v Hertsmere Borough Council (2022) considered if, and in what circumstances, a local planning authority might be liable for negligence for the way it dealt with a planning application.

Continue Reading Our top 6 Planning Law takeaways in 2022 – Part 3: What to do when the planners delay

In the second of our blog posts on some key developments in planning law in 2022, we look at some new proposals set out in a Consultation published in December 2022 on how to stop landbanking.  These come on top of some new provisions known as the “use it or lose it” clauses in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill which is slated to become law in spring of this year. 

The process of landbanking, whereby landowners obtain planning permission (thereby securing an enhanced value for their landholdings) but fail to implement (or at least substantially complete) a permission, has long been identified as a problem, particularly in the residential sector.  The problem is now acute with the lack of suitable and affordable housing availability.

Continue Reading Our top 6 Planning Law takeaways in 2022 – Part 2: Proposals to stop “landbanking”

The widely anticipated judgement of the case of Fearn and Others v Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery from the Supreme Court was delivered on 1 February 2023, opening up the potential for many new claims of nuisance by way visual intrusion.

The Facts of the Case

The Tate Modern contains a public viewing platform on its top floor (constructed in 2016), which provides views over the city of London to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, but also a direct view into a number of residential flats (constructed some four years prior) which are located nearby, and which were built with floor to ceiling glass panels. The claimants are residents of four flats who originally brought a claim in nuisance and sought an injunction requiring the Tate Modern to prevent members of the public from being able to look into their homes, by cordoning off or screening the part of the viewing platform.

Continue Reading A room with a view…. and a nuisance – The Tate Modern

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

Introduction

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