Keeping It Real Estate

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Answer: Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones (or complain about prying neighbours) The recent case of Fearn & Others v The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery [2019], concerned a dispute between the Tate Modern and its residential neighbours over the Tate’s public viewing platform. The case makes clear that an invasion of privacy can (although not in this case) amount to an actionable legal nuisance. The dispute In central…
The High Court has today handed down judgment in the closely watched case of Canary Wharf (BP4) T1 Limited and others v European Medicines Agency.  In what will be viewed as a relief for the property industry, the Court has held that the European Medicines Agency remains bound by the terms of its lease, notwithstanding BREXIT. What is the case about? The European Medicines Agency (EMA) leases 30 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf pursuant to a…
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 received royal assent on 12 February and comes into force on 1 June 2019. The Act aims to improve transparency and affordability in England’s residential lettings market. It bans various fees often charged to tenants – including fees for reference checks, key collection and inventories. It also caps permitted payments. Research indicates that fees charged have far outstripped inflation, rising by 60% during 2010 – 2015, and that the Act…
Consumer access to remedy has long been a neglected part of what many consider to be an already broken housing market. Housing disputes are heard in a number of different legal settings and the process is often convoluted and opaque. As a result, this vulnerable part of the real estate sector (private renters, social housing residents, leaseholders and buyers of new build homes) can face insurmountable barriers in bringing their cases to justice.  Following a…
When the government announced in 2018 that foreign investors into the UK property market were to be targeted with an additional SDLT levy, we said that the devil would be in the detail. The consultation document published this week gives that detail. But just how devilish is it? The government is going ahead with a 1% SDLT surcharge on top of the existing SDLT rates for non-UK residents purchasing residential property in England or Northern…
It is estimated that the population of London will reach 10.8 million by 2041. According to the Mayor of London, around 43,500 affordable homes are required each year in order to meet London’s housing needs. Yet the issue as to how these homes will be delivered is one that remains controversial. The provision of “genuinely affordable housing” was a key part of the Mayor’s election manifesto and plays a large part in the new London…
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, is increasing across the real estate sector, and for good reason. Drones have incredible safety and efficiency benefits for business. They are flexible and labour saving, and the ways in which drones are used across the real estate sector is increasing and seems likely to increase further. Organisations are already using drones to conduct external property inspections, at a cost far cheaper than any…
On 21 December 2018 the government’s promised ban on the use of aluminium composite (ACM) cladding on residential buildings came into force. Paul Tonkin answers some key questions. Does the ban apply to all buildings? No, the ban applies to new buildings over 18 metres tall containing flats, as well as new hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation over 18 metres. What about buildings under construction? The ban will not…
It’s commonplace for the floor area of a proposed development to be set subject to certain agreed tolerances. These provide an amount of flexibility to a developer and are usually set out in the development agreement. But what happens if these tolerances are not met? You might think that this should entitle the parties to bring the agreement to an end. Interestingly, the High Court recently decided not, in Mears Limited v. Costplan Services (South…
As 2019 begins, the property sector is gearing up for the introduction of the new RICS professional statement, which will supersede the current code of practice from 1 April 2019. The statement cannot override the terms of a lease but, as long as it is read in conjunction with the lease, the statement will guide the practical implementation of service charge provisions in the lease to ensure services are managed properly. The key change from…