Entering into property transactions without expert legal advice is always a hostage to fortune. A restaurateur found that out after he was dishonestly induced to enter into an clandestine sub-lease of commercial premises by a businessman whom he trusted as a friend. Following a series of informal meetings, the restaurateur agreed to take a sub-lease…

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In the court of appeal case of The Alexander Devine Children’s Cancer Trust v Millgate Developments Ltd. and Another [2018] EWCA Civ 2679, disregard for legal obligations in property development is unwise, as this case shows. It involved a developer that decided to build affordable housing in the full knowledge that the charity which owns adjacent…

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Sham legal documents are created for all sorts of nefarious purposes, but judges are well practised at uncovering them. In a case on point, a sham lease created with the intention of evading business rates failed to convince the High Court. After receiving non-domestic rates demands for over £62,000 from a local authority, a commercial…

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Due to the great public interest in an effective national telecommunications network, mobile phone operators can require landowners to provide plots for their equipment. However, as with any intrusive rights that can be imposed on the unwilling, the rules that apply before they can be exercised are tightly drawn and interpreted. A case on point…

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Before disposing of property assets, charities are required to meet a number of procedural safeguards that are designed to ensure that the best price reasonably obtainable is achieved. The High Court gave detailed consideration to those provisions in a case concerning a charity’s abortive sale of two commercial buildings. The charity contracted to sell the…

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In a guideline decision of great interest to commercial property landlords, the Upper Tribunal (UT) has ruled that prestige office premises which were stripped back to bare in preparation for the arrival of a new tenant had a nil rateable value. The case concerned two floors of an iconic 50-storey office block which, in line…

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So-called squatters’ rights mean that when it comes to land ownership, it really can be a case of use it or lose it (potentially). In a case on point, three siblings who let the weeds grow in a field given to them by their father came within an whisker of having the property taken from…

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There are roads and there are highways, but is there any real distinction between the two that can be legally defined? The High Court addressed that important issue in a case of interest to property and planning professionals. A property developer obtained outline planning permission to construct business units on an edge of town site.…

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Large infrastructure projects almost always require compulsory land acquisitions and that can also mean the extinction of thriving businesses. However, one company which suffered that fate reaped the benefits of professional advice when it was awarded more than £8 million in compensation. The company operated a waste transfer station, skip hire and recycling business on…

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