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Tenants Win Greater Influence Over Optional Improvement Costs

In a ruling that will be required reading for landlords and tenants, the Court of Appeal has given authoritative guidance on the distinction between ‘repairs’ and ‘optional improvements’. The decision means that tenants’ views will in future be far more influential when it comes to paying for the costs of the latter. The case concerned a 1960s-built...

High Court Green Lights 377-Home Greenfield Development

Housebuilding on green fields can be intensely controversial but objections often have to give way before the ever-widening gap between supply and demand. In one case that illustrated the point, the High Court opened the way for construction of 377 new homes close to an area of outstanding natural beauty. The local authority acknowledged that it did not have a...

Tribunal Aids Divorcee Defrauded of Her Stake in Matrimonial Home

Fraud can be difficult to detect but judges are alert to the problem and will bend over backwards to assist victims of deceit. In one case, a tribunal came to the aid of a divorcee whose ex-husband used forged documents to defraud her of her half share of the former matrimonial home. The house had been purchased in the former couple’s joint names prior to...

Money Laundering – Drugs-Tainted Property Portfolio To Be Seized

Drug dealers and other criminals have a tendency to launder their profits through the property market, often using family members as go-betweens. As one High Court case showed, however, the authorities are well equipped to deal with such tactics. The case concerned four residential properties that were held in the names of the wife, brother and sister-in-law of...

Buyer Beware! Property Sale Contracts Mean What They Say!

Lawyers don’t use much Latin nowadays but ‘caveat emptor!’ – roughly translated as ‘buyer beware!’ – is still a fundamental principle that applies to property sales. In one case exactly on point, a builder defeated a breach of contract claim brought by a woman who tripped over a defective paving stone and broke her back. The pensioner bought a...

Owners of Listed Buildings – Keep Them in Repair Or Else!

Owners of listed buildings are entrusted to keep them in a reasonable state of repair and a failure to do so can have grave consequences. In one case, a woman whose 17th century manor house had fallen into a state of near-dereliction received just £125,000 in compensation following its compulsory purchase. The condition of the architecturally important property...