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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
Case study: A tenant, has entered into an agreement to surrender its lease on a future date to allow the landlord to redevelop. The deed of surrender (the agreed form of which is attached to the agreement to surrender) includes a release from all liabilities past, present or future under the lease. There is no carve out of dilapidations claims.
Could student lettings (single rooms with bathrooms but shared kitchens, let out to different students each academic year) be classed as dwellings and so fall within the ambit of sections 18–30 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985?
Does a company which has acquired a tenant company and has been paying rent have a right to a lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954?
Does a landlord of commercial premises have to serve a formal section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 (LTA 1987) notice on the tenant advising of a change of address or can the landlord simply write to the tenant advising it of the change?
Does a landlord qualify for the ‘resident landlord’ exemption under the Housing Act 1988 if they live in the same building (unless it is a purpose built block of flats) whether or not any accommodation is shared? Specifically, is the exemption fulfilled if only halls and landings are shared?
Does a landlord who is opposing the grant of a new business tenancy also need to serve a section 25 notice on a guarantor?
Does a surrender of a registered lease have to be way of TR1 or can it instead be by way of a deed?
Does a tenant have a legal right to extend a long lease of a garage? A buyer is purchasing a freehold house, which is being sold together with a leasehold flat (currently circa 66 years to run). Both are held under separate titles. The garage is in a block of garages located at the end of the road, the freehold of which is owned by a management company (owned and run by the owners of the leasehold garages), which the buyer is to obtain a share in. There is no obligation for the freehold to be sold with the garage. However, the lease of the garage states that it cannot be assigned to anybody other than a person who owns a house on the road (save for with the Landlord's consent), and that the assignee must also take the assignors share in the management company.
Has a periodic tenancy arisen and how much notice must the tenant give to terminate the lease? Should the notice expire on a quarter day?
How can a landlord serve a section 8 notice and possession proceedings on a tenant who is in prison and where the property is now occupied by the tenant’s friends? Is it possible, or necessary, for the landlord to find out which prison the tenant is in?
How can a notice to quit be effectively served on a licensee who is in hospital and not at the property?
How do you calculate the court fee for a claim under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996) when the value of the claim is unknown, as is sometimes the case when applying for a declaration under TOLATA 1996?
How does the length of time affect the right to an implied easement?
If a commercial lease contains provision for rent reviews in 2011, 2014 and 2017, but none of these have ever been implemented, can the landlord now implement the rent reviews back to 2011 and charge interest on the increased rent from 2011?
If A grants a verbal licence to B to build a garage on A's land for B's sole use, what is the position in respect of the garage when B sells his adjoining property if the licence is silent on this issue? Does the use and ownership of the garage pass to the new owner?
If a landlord has served a break notice in accordance with the terms of a secure business lease bringing it to an end in six months time does it also have to serve an s 25 notice bringing the tenancy to an end?
If a leaseholder serves a notice under section 42 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a lease extension, can the landlord delay or stop the proceedings if there has been a breach of the alterations covenant?
If a long residential lease is silent as to the ownership of the windows, would the freeholder or leaseholder be responsible for their maintenance?
If a periodic tenancy has arisen by virtue of the tenant holding over, is the break option incorporated into the periodic tenancy and can the tenant therefore terminate on giving three-months’ notice? If the break option is not incorporated into the periodic tenancy, is the notice period for a notice to quit the same irrespective of whether it is given by the landlord or the tenant?
If a Rent Act protected tenant permanently moves to a residential care home, does this automatically bring the tenancy to an end, given that the requirement to reside in the property is no longer satisfied? If the tenant’s son was living with them (but was not a tenant), does the son have any security of tenure or other right to remain in occupation after the tenant has moved out?
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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