Latest Legal News

Credibility of Witness Defeats Adverse Possession Claim

The law allows people who occupy land over a long period and use it as their own, without anyone else asserting ownership rights to it, to apply to have their title to it registered at the Land Registry. This is normally called 'squatter's rights' and...

Residents' Association Pays Price for Failing to Take Professional Advice

Many blocks of flats are managed by a residents' association, which has the great advantage of affording tenants democratic rights of self-determination. However, as a decision of the Upper Tribunal (UT) showed, such bodies bear onerous, and often complex,...

Building Works Next Door Making Your Life a Misery?

Construction works on neighbouring properties can make your life a misery but, with the right legal advice, you may be able to do something about them. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of a woman whose rental property was deprived of light...

Failure to Control Knotweed Proves Costly for Landowner

Japanese knotweed is a very considerable pest – 'indisputably the UK's most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant', according to the Environment Agency –as it can cause damage to buildings, spreads easily and is difficult to eradicate. As...

Inconsistent Residential Planning Permission Overturned

If you are faced with an unwelcome proposal for development nearby, a recent case shows how tenaciousness and a knowledge of past planning history can help to prevent it. Consistency of decision making is a fundamental principle of planning law and local...

Planning Application Restricted to Preserve View

On our densely populated island, there is a pressing need for available land to be put to sensible use and, where restrictive covenants lurking in title deeds prevent that happening, they can be modified. In a case on point, a man's desire to provide a...

Tenants Must Bear Cost of Safety Improvements

Following the Grenfell disaster in 2017, cladding has come under close scrutiny with surveys being carried out as a priority in buildings across the UK. The failure to comply with Building Regulations (Part L1A 2010), which provides a framework for ensuring...

What Seems Reasonable to You...

It is a common term in a lease for the tenants to have to seek permission from the landlord if they want to do something new to or with the premises they let. Typically, such clauses specify that permission will not be 'unreasonably withheld'. However, what...

Council Tax to Bite on Empty Property

In 2017, 205,293 dwellings in England were left empty for six months or more. With the housing shortage never far from the news agenda, steps to bring unoccupied houses back into use are being taken by the Government. Under the Rating (Property in Common...

Working From Home? Do You Have the Right?

Although they may not know it, many householders are banned by restrictions in their title deeds from using their properties for commercial purposes. Recently, a man who converted his garage into a dog grooming parlour discovered why he should have sought...

Flats Development 'No Pets' Policy Passes High Court Test

If your tenancy agreement contains a 'no pets' policy, the fact that your pet does not cause any issues for other tenants will not prevent your landlord from enforcing its removal. In a recent case, the High Court ruled that a couple had been lawfully...

Planning Law - Take Advice Before You Act

The planning system is very far from straightforward and sensible landowners seek legal advice before tackling it. The point was underlined by one case in which a farmer ended up with a part-built barn and at risk of enforcement action if he completed the...

Premature Contract Signature Proves Expensive

Signing a contract before you are sure you are willing to complete it can be a huge mistake: judges do not flinch from enforcing valid contracts, as a recent case shows . It involved a man who reneged on a deal to buy a family home for £5 million. He...

DIY Approach to Property Purchase Proves Costly

You might think that something as seemingly simple as buying a pitch for a caravan is straightforward enough to do yourself, but a recent example shows why no sensible person would consider entering into a property transaction without employing a specialist...

Onerous Leasehold Terms to be Banned

Following an outcry over the terms that apply to the purchase of new leasehold properties in some circumstances, the Government conducted a public consultation. This has now reported and legislation is expected soon to deal with the abuses identified. ...

Service Standards Must Be Appropriate for Properties

Owning a share of the freehold is often cited as a selling point to flat buyers – but tenant democracy is no panacea and there is little advantage to it if residents do not get on. In one case, a dispute between wealthy apartment dwellers over cuts to...

Court Bypasses Wife's Attempts to Stymie Sale

One of the potential disadvantages of having more than one owner of a property is what to do when they take different views of whether it should be sold. In a recent case, a husband went to court to force the sale of a property he owned with his wife (she...

Council Must Consider Planning Application

People who seek advantage by going beyond the bounds of planning permission they are given can expect to be taught a very expensive lesson by the courts. However, the law does guarantee the right of a person to have a planning application considered, as was...

Facing Compulsory Purchase of Your Home?

Home ownership is generally regarded as providing safety and long-term security, but this is not always the case as properties can be compulsorily purchased by public authorities to make way for socially beneficial developments. Any householders affected are...

Flat Tenants - Taking Over Management Can Be a Legal Minefield

Most leaseholders would like to obtain the right to manage their own premises. However, as one tribunal case shows , there are many potential pitfalls, so seeking professional legal advice is always a wise precaution. The four qualifying tenants of a block...

Change of Use Over Time Leads to Four-Day Court Battle

Rights of way over land are a constant source of dispute and, because the law relating to land is complex, such disputes all too frequently end up in avoidable court proceedings. A recent case heard by Bristol County Court was brought by a man who claimed...

Take Extra Care When Buying Abroad

It is estimated that more than 800,000 Britons now own property abroad. What used to be highly exceptional may now seem rather commonplace, but that is no reason why buyers should relax their vigilance over the process. In particular, it is absolutely vital...

Couple May Lose House After Denying Neighbour Access to Meter

Disputes between neighbours can blight the lives of all concerned and it is always wise to seek legal advice before matters get out of hand. In one case, an elderly couple face losing their home under the weight of legal bills following a long-running row...

Don't Delay in Completing 'Formalities'

There is a tendency to think that procedural matters are mere formalities and there is no need to be in a rush to dot the i's and cross the t's, but sometimes failing to deal with them promptly can cause significant problems, as a recent case involving a...

Court Upholds Restrictions on Holiday Homes

The old adage that 'an Englishman's home is his castle' is only partially true and the impact of planning law on a property owner's rights can be far-reaching – even extending to limiting the right of occupation. This is particularly an issue in areas...
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