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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
An area of unregistered woodland was purchased in 1969 and the conveyance contained rights of access over adjoining property. The adjoining property has since been registered, however the rights of access to the woodland are not noted on the register (ie it would appear that on first registration the 1969 conveyance was not presented to LR). Will the rights granted in the 1969 Conveyance be overriding easements?
An assured shorthold tenancy was granted to joint tenants. However, one of the tenants served notice and vacated. Does the landlord only need to serve a section 21 notice on the remaining tenant?
An incorrect garage plan has been annexed to the registered Lease and needs to be swapped for another garage plan, therefore I will need to arrange for two Supplemental Leases. Do I need to surrender the lease plans for each flat prior to preparing a Supplemental Lease? Also, what is the modification wording in this scenario? Do I refer to the original lease in the rights granted, reserved schedules of the Supplemental Lease?
Are there any exceptions to the requirement to protect a tenancy deposit for a residential property when the deposit has not been paid by the tenants themselves, but by a third party?
As part of a claim by a landlord against a former tenant for rent arrears, can it recover the costs of re-letting to a new tenant, including legal fees and the cost of internal alterations to make the premises suitable for the new tenant’s business, plus removal of asbestos, re-wiring and re-plumbing etc?
Can a consent to assignment from a landlord required under the lease be by way of letter rather than a formal licence? If so must the letter be signed by the landlord or can it be signed by the landlord’s solicitors and if so can the following wording be used: ‘as solicitors for the landlord we now formally consent to the assignment of the lease…?’
Can a covenant in a lease take precedence over holding over, where a lease containing a covenant to remove property at the end of the contractual term is not contracted out? Is there any case law on this?
Can a landlord and tenant agree to exclude the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 on renewal of a previously protected tenancy where the tenant remains in occupation throughout the process?
Can a landlord change from one letting agent to another during the course of the tenancy?
Can a landlord charge administration charges directly, for costs it incurs in relation to enforcing tenants covenants, where the right to manage company has failed to act?
Can a landlord or management company back-date and claim an increase in ground rent for the last six years (not on one of the set review dates) where a lease allows for upwards only review every five years, but the rent has not been increased for 20 years?
Can a mortgagee rely on Ground 2 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 to evict a residential tenant occupying under an assured shorthold tenancy if, at the time the tenant was given notice prior to the commencement of the tenancy that the property was mortgaged, it was mortgaged to a different lender (ie it has since been remortgaged)?
Can a tenant obtain an easement by prescription (other than a right to light) over land owned by its landlord?
Can obligations be protected with a legal charge if there is no monetary value in the obligation being secured?
Can one joint landlord serve a section 21 notice for possession of an assured shorthold tenancy without the consent of the other?
Can someone be held liable for five years’ crop loss and be forced to erect a fence if rabbits from their land have been damaging the neighbour's crops? Can the individual be held liable regardless of the gravity of the damages incurred, or is there a minimal damage threshold?
Can the party to a lease with the benefit in the lease of certain rights over land, unilaterally release these rights by way of a separate unilateral deed of release?
Can the same people who are trustees for two different charities be landlord and tenant? For example, can a group of people be the landlord, as trustees of Charity X, while the same group of people are the tenant, as trustees of Charity Y?
Can you extend a maisonette lease using a statutory method, eg Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, s 42?
Can you have a commercial tenancy where goods or services are provided in exchange for occupation of premises instead of payment of monetary rent? For example, where a party is allowed to occupy in exchange for the ongoing display of an advertising hoarding at the premises.
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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