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Prescriptive Rights of Way – The Absence of Permission Is Vital

Rights of way across the land of others can become established if they have been used openly and without force for at least 20 years. However, such use must also be without permission and, as one case showed, that can often prove a sticking point. The owners of land on which a workshop stood claimed a vehicular right of way over an adjoining yard. The First-tier...

High Court Ruling Underlines Relentless Demand for Urban Housing

Relentless demand for housing in urban areas means local authorities are reluctant to approve developments that entail the loss of even a small number of residential units. The point was made as the High Court scotched two proposals to knock multiple Central London properties into one. The proposals involved turning four small flats into one unit and two...

Residential Landlords Taken In by Glamorous Fraudster

Landlords should never go on appearances but should always have their prospective tenants’ credentials professionally checked. That point could hardly have been better made than by one case concerning a serial fraudster who painted herself as well-heeled and glamorous in order to talk her way into a series of tenancies. The woman used false names, including...

Service Charges – Landlord Pays Dearly for Failing to Read the Lease

When it comes to issuing service charge demands, landlords must stick to the letter of leases or risk recovering nothing at all – even if that results in tenants receiving an unwarranted windfall. The Court of Appeal made that point in relieving a residential tenant of liability to pay service charges over a four-year period. Under the terms of the relevant...

Tribunal Untangles Litany of Drafting Errors in Housing Estate Leases

The reason why drafting leases is a job for specialist lawyers is that any ambiguity or unfortunate wording can store up trouble for the future. In one case, a litany of errors in the drafting of flat leases in respect of a housing development gave rise to not just one, but two, sets of hard-fought tribunal proceedings. The development consisted of three...

Restrictions on Use of Holiday Homes – Court of Appeal Lays Down the Law

Many thousands of holiday homes are subject to planning restrictions that forbid their occupation all the year round or as principal residences. Such rules are sometimes taken with a pinch of salt by their owners, but a Court of Appeal ruling showed that they must be taken seriously. The case concerned a number of properties that lay within a country park. They...