Property Newsletter: April 2024

GC
Gatehouse Chambers

Contributor

Gatehouse Chambers (formerly Hardwicke) is a leading commercial chambers which specialises in arbitration and all forms of ADR, commercial dispute resolution, construction, insolvency, restructuring and company, insurance, professional liability and property disputes. It also has niche specialisms in clinical negligence and personal injury as well as private client work.
We trust you are settled back in to practice after some time off over Easter. The team at Gatehouse are looking forward to the upcoming Summer events...
UK Real Estate and Construction
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Introduction

We trust you are settled back in to practice after some time off over Easter. The team at Gatehouse are looking forward to the upcoming Summer events, hopefully with some warmer weather!

In this month's newsletter we have a flurry of articles which might capture your interest:

We believe that the researchers for Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners are doing their rounds for the Property Bar and we are very grateful to our referees who take the time to give us feedback. Thank you.

We think you probably know us all well enough now so are taking a break from our “2 Minutes with…” Please do let me know if there is anything else you'd be keen to see in our newsletters.

MIPIM

The Gatehouse Property team really enjoyed meeting many of our wonderful clients in Cannes at MIPM. We would love to stay in touch, so please do not hesitate to contact us to attend one of our “Openhouse” events.

Editor – Laura Tweedy

Laura's Legal Update

Legal Update – Renters Reform

The Renters (Reform) Bill is back in the House of Commons this week for its second reading, so despite much negative blustering I still remain convinced that this is going through under the current Government. There have been some changes to the proposals which I will update you about in due course.

Building Safety Act 

We are seeing an increasing number of cases and advice being sought about the BSA and that is no surprise. On 6 April 2024, the transitionary period which started on 1 October 2023 came to an end and for higher-risk building projects to continue there are a number of hoops for developers to jump through.

In case you missed them, here is some useful guidance on maintaining the Golden Thread and a helpful BSA guide for lay clients/leaseholders.

You perhaps already noticed that the Government remain committed to pushing through the second staircase mandate, much to the chagrin of developers.

Also, I see that the HSE are hosting a free conference about the BSA in Birmingham on 21 May 2024 in case it is of interest.

What have we been up to?

Laura Tweedy has been drafting the skeleton for the Court of Appeal in Kerr v Poplar (about converting a suspended possession order into an outright one using Manchester v Finn), leading the fabulous Jaysen Sharpe. With that, a multi-million property misrepresentation claim, illegally obtained documents and some relief from sanctions aps things have been a little on the busy side. 

It has been a busy three weeks for Steven Woolf who has been involved lots of travelling for a boundary dispute trial in Yorkshire, a Mediation in deepest Kent, and hearings in Bury St Edmunds and Northampton. To think we all thought CVP Hearings were going to change barristers' “have-brief-will-travel” motto…

Phil Marriott spent the last month dealing with easements, restrictive covenants and a boundary dispute, which, conveniently, were all topics he spoke on in the J2J seminar on 26 March. He will also be doing a second seminar on service charges on 2 May. Outside of preparing for seminars, he has joined in with the travelling with a hearing in Newcastle, and has been advising on various matters following the death of a resident landlord, and on forfeiture of a lease of a mixed use property. More details on seminars below…

Brie Stevens-Hoare KC  was wondering if March was for mediation as suddenly lots seemed to be happening. But now April has continued in the same vein. She has no complaints as they always appeal to her desire to find solutions, including creative ones. In addition, Brie has been for a deep dive into the right of reverter along with more adverse possession, easements and more than a little proper construction of contracts and leases.

Victoria Dacie-Lombardo also found that March was for mediation, specifically in relation to a claim for statutory penalties under s.214 HA 2004 and a misrepresentation counterclaim. More broadly, she has been thinking about unlicensed HMOs, disrepair and the validity of notices. She was also pleased to succeed at trial in obtaining a money judgment and indemnity costs award in respect of arrears under an Agricultural Tenancy.

Jamal Demachkie had an enjoyable two-day jaunt in the Court of Appeal, intervening (successfully) for the mortgagee in the case of Donovan v Prescott Place [2024] EWCA Civ 298 dealing (inter alia) with whether an order under s.19 LTA 1987 is an interest in land.

Lina Mattsson has had a month of fraudulent misrepresentation claims, trying to fend off mortgagees and adverse possession. She is now suffering from holiday blues after her Easter holidays building sandcastles on a beach.

Daniel Gatty's month has had a 1954 Act flavour. He successfully resisted an appeal to the High Court about occupation for the purpose of a business and opposition on ground g (The Royal Borough of Kensington And Chelsea v Mellcraft Ltd [2024] EWHC 539 (Ch) (11 March 2024) (bailii.org)). He also succeeded, at a preliminary issue trial, in establishing that his client's lease had not been effectively contracted out of the Act. More details about Daniel's upcoming seminar below…

David Peachey has been pleading and advising on a raft of spicy 1954 Act cases, many with an interesting or novel legal twist. Watch this space for an article or a brew once they are over! He is also seeking to forfeit a long lease for the second time, only two years after the same tenant obtained relief when the same landlord forfeited for the same behaviour (ding ding – round two).

Cameron Stocks spent most of his month dealing with property/private client crossover disputes including a “tenancy” agreement which was drafted to be conditional upon the life (or death…) of the Deceased's favourite dog and a family dispute about the extent of a repair covenant contained in a will trust granting a lifetime right of occupation. 

When not enjoying the slopes in Switzerland, Andrew Skelly has been grappling with boundaries and drainage. He didn't sit on the fence in one boundary case, where the trial was all about ownership of that fence. Across the country, a successful mediation in respect of drainage from several residential properties, involving issues of riparian rights and prescription, means that the residents can continue to live in their homes which would otherwise have been rendered uninhabitable. Andrew has also advised in respect of development land which is crossed by previously unidentified culverts and water mains.

Adam Smith-Roberts has been buried in reviewing a huge number of documents in a large commercial dispute along with a few other members of chambers but has found the time to plead a boundary dispute and settle another shortly before trial. He did manage a few days away in Budapest in March to speak at a conference on contentious trusts.

Gemma de Cordova has been very busy since enjoying her first trip to Cannes with the rest of the team. She has been advising clients with an array of problems including some interesting Building Safety Act points; an adverse possession dispute with a possible application to alter the register; and a proprietary estoppel dispute. Over the next couple of weeks Gemma is looking forward to getting her teeth into some interesting questions concerning a concurrent lease; advising whether the transfer made by a developer falls to be rectified on the ground of mistake; and settling particulars in a boundary dispute.

Events

J2J Property Series

Gatehouse Chambers' Junior Property Team continue to host their popular webinar programme. The team have been offering practical hints and tips as well as updates on recent developments in the legal landscape in six key areas of real estate law.

Delegates can pick and choose which webinars they would like to attend, or register for all of them by getting in touch.

To register your interest please email events@gatehouselaw.co.uk.

Click here to download the full programme.

Property Seminar: 1954 Act claims

Look out for our upcoming property seminar scheduled to take place on the 9th July 2024,  where Daniel Gatty and Lina Mattsson will discuss tactics in contested 1954 Act claims, drawing on their recent cases mentioned above.

To register your interest please email events@gatehouselaw.co.uk.

Patel v Awan [2024] EWHC 464 (Ch)

This case raised the novel question of whether an order for interim payment on account of costs under CPR r.44.2(8) can be enforced by way of charging order. The short answer is “yes”.

Read the full article by Joshua Griffin here.

Recission for unilateral mistake: Barclays Bank UK PLC v (1) Terry & (2) Terry [2023] EWHC 2726 (Ch) and [2023] EWHC 3113 (Ch)

In this series of two articles, James Hall and William Golightly discuss points of interest arising from the recent case Barclays Bank UK PLC v Terry & Anor (“the Barclays litigation”, “Barclays” and “Mr and Mrs Terry”) in which James and William were counsel for the defendants. The first article discusses a point of substantive law (the court's exercise of its equitable jurisdiction to rescind disposition made as a result of a unilateral mistake) the focus of the second article will be procedural (re: representative claims under CPR 19.8).

Click here to read the first article.

Access the second article, ‘Representative actions under CPR 19.8: practical lessons to learn from Barclays Bank UK Plc v Terry' by James Hall and William Golightly here.

Two for one: one case but two decisions on occupation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea v Mellcraft Ltd [2024] EWHC 539 (Ch); [2024] PLSCS 49)

Daniel Gatty recently appeared for the successful Respondent in the appeal to the High Court in Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea v Mellcraft Ltd. The appeal concerned two different aspects of the question, when will a person be in occupation for business purposes under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“1954 Act”)?

Click here to read the full article by Daniel Gatty.

Did you miss? Sainsbury's Supermarkets Limited v Medley Assets Limited

Lina Mattsson acted for the Landlord in this potentially groundbreaking decision for commercial tenants who wish to defeat ground (f), s 30 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Although a County Court decision and with the key parts being obiter, the judgment makes essential reading for anyone advising clients on commercial lease renewals.

Read the full summary here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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