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If your legal problem is connected in any way to a piece of land, Desmond will tackle it (although he leaves planning law to others). His practice includes all kinds of disputes which arise out of developments and conveyancing, all types of commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, as well as social housing problems (including homelessness). He acts for property owners, landlords and tenants and professional advisors at every stage. In the last year, he has been involved in: A claim by a man to a co-ownership share in the multi-million property portfolio and letting business of his former fiancee A rectification of title claim to establish easements of prescription so as to benefit a proposed development An action against a bridging finance company for failure to comply with their equitable duties when selling mortgaged property A service charge dispute where the leaseholders of a local authority are seeking to prevent the authority dispensing with consultation requirements A professional negligence dispute arising out of an inadequately drafted mortgage arrangement A nuisance case concerning damage caused by naturally flowing water A number of business tenancy claims, rent reviews, boundary and other neighbour disputes, possession and disrepair actions
A buyer is purchasing a commercial property and contracts have been exchanged. The tenant of the property has been in occupation under a business tenancy protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (LTA 1954). The seller served a section 25 notice stating they would not oppose the grant of a new lease. However, the tenant has made no application, a new lease has not been agreed and all the agreed extensions to do so have now expired. In this scenario, has the tenant lost their right to security of tenure?; when the buyer completes the purchase of the property, assuming they want the tenant to vacate, does the buyer still need to apply for a court order against the tenant (and would that require a notice to quit)? or can the buyer simply peaceably re-enter the property?; would the buyer be able to pursue the tenant for damages for the tenant's occupation when their protection under LTA 1954 expired?
A commercial lease prohibits assigning and sharing possession. It also prohibits permitting another person or company to 'use' the Property. What might constitute a third party 'using' the Property as opposed to sharing it if the use is ongoing? Would such use be both a remediable and ongoing breach?
A house has been repossessed and the bank has possession. The mortgagor has now borrowed funds from a family member. Can the mortgagor now redeem the mortgage and 'dispose of the bank having possession of the property'? If so, how is this done—by application to the court?
A landlord granted a 12-month fixed term assured shorthold tenancy and served a section 21(4)(a) notice during the fixed term. Was that notice valid or should a section 21(1)(b) notice have been used?
A landlord grants lease of a property comprising commercial premises on the ground floor with a flat above. The tenant has sublet the flat on an AST (which is permitted by the lease). The landlord and the tenant are proposing to agree a surrender of the lease. How will this affect the AST?
A landlord has served a non-hostile section 25 notice offering a tenant a new lease, but the terms of the new lease have not been agreed. The section 25 notice has now expired, the tenant remains in occupation and neither the landlord, nor the tenant has made an application court. The landlord now wants the tenant to vacate the property—what steps does the landlord need to take to regain possession of the property?
A lease extension outside of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was proceeding when all other tenants served a section 13 notice for collective enfranchisement of the property. The lease extension has been suspended by virtue of the enfranchisement. However, the freeholder has been approached by the tenant who was seeking the lease extension, who has asked whether a deed of variation could be entered into to clarify the extent of their demise. The extent of the demise will not be changing. Legally, can this be done?
A non-charity ‘tenant’ is occupying residential property for the purpose of a business carried on by it (providing child care services). A five-year lease, containing no contracting-out provisions, was executed, but never completed. It reserved an annual rent, paid quarterly. What is the basis of occupation of the ‘tenant’—an implied periodic tenancy on the terms of the lease with the Landlord and Tenant Act 19541 protection? If so, would the landlord need to serve a section 25 notice and also a notice to quit in respect of the periodic tenancy?
A plan has been annexed to the initial notice served under section 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, which erroneously identifies ‘specified premises’ as ‘appurtenant property’. Will this error invalidate the notice?
A renewal assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is granted for a term of 12 months with rent payable monthly in advance. After three months the tenant has failed to pay any rent, so the landlord serves notices seeking possession pursuant to section 8 (relying on ground 8 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988) and section 21. If the tenant settles the arrears, is the landlord precluded from seeking possession based on ground 8 and can the section 21 route only be used to recover possession at the end of the fixed term?
A tenancy agreement states that A is the landlord, however, both A and B state that B is the true landlord and A merely manages the property. The rent is received by B. The office copies also state that B owns the property. Whose name should be stated on a claim form and will it be an issue that B is the landlord but A is named on the tenancy agreement as the landlord?
A tenant has made a court claim for a new tenancy pursuant to section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 following the service of a section 26 notice. The lease contains a rolling six-month break clause which either landlord or tenant can exercise. Can the landlord serve a break notice on the tenant and what would its effect be having regard to the tenant’s ongoing claim for a new lease?
A tenant has said it will vacate business premises protected by LTA 1954 at the expiry of the contractual term, however the landlord has already served a section 25 notice. The termination date is three months after the expiry of the contractual term. In a situation such as this does the section 25 notice have the effect of extending the tenant's liability for rent and tenant's covenants until the termination date specified in the section 25 notice, or just until the end of the contractual term?
A tenant owns the leasehold to a house at a peppercorn rent. The garden is an unregistered freehold and the tenant has lived in the house and used the garden for over twenty years. Can the tenant acquire a freehold interest in the garden by adverse possession or would the tenant only be able to acquire a leasehold interest?
A tenant served a notice for a lease extension under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The freeholder has not served a notice in reply. The notice of claim was dated 28 April 2020 and no draft lease has been received. Should the tenant now serve a notice to complete? Or should the tenant instead have served a notice regarding modification of terms as per the Leasehold Reform (Enfranchisement and Extension) Regulations 1967, SI 1967/1879, Sch, Pt II, reg 2?
A tenant was awarded a refund of service charge monies following an FTT decision. The lease, between landlord and tenant, stipulates that any overpayment should be held as credit and used against the next periods of service charge rent. Is the landlord required to refund the overpayment back to the tenant and can the tenant use the credit against payment of ground rent? Section 42 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 indicates that to return monies would be a breach of trust—how does this section interact with the FTT’s decision?
A tenant went into occupation of nursery school premises while lease negotiations were ongoing, but these were never concluded. Rent has been demanded and accepted, although the tenant has failed to make payment for a number of months. Will the tenant have security of tenure under Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and if so, will the landlord be able to recover possession by serving a notice opposing the grant of a new tenancy?
A window frame of a flat overhangs the balcony of the flat below. Does this overhang constitute trespass?
Accommodation in a private sector purpose-built student accommodation block is let on the basis that students rent their individual rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens for a fixed term of a year at a rent. Student’s have keys for their own rooms but may be subject to the occasional room inspection. Would such lettings be classed as licences or leases?
An agreement entered into in 1964 grants a right of way confirming that the grantee shall ‘peacefully hold and enjoy the benefit’ for the term of the agreement, which is 42 years. The right of way has been used, but the grantee is now facing objections. Can the right constitute a lease of a right of way capable of protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954?
Property Bar Association
Chancery Bar Association
Founder Member of Social Housing Law Association
Inner Temple Examination Scholar (1990)
University of Southampton (LLB (Hons) 2.1)
Kings College, London (LLM)
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