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Property Litigation

Property Dispute Resolution

 We advise and act for a wide range of clients from large property investors and developers to those with smaller portfolios and individual owners and tenants.

Property disputes often require us to work closely with other advisers within our team, such as those in our commercial property and residential property teams, or our debt recovery services. 

We have experience in assisting with a broad range of property related disputes, including

  • Residential landlord & tenant possession actions
  • Commercial landlord & tenant possession actions including forfeiture
  • Dilapidation Claims
  • Service Charge Disputes
  • Rights of Way, Rights of Parking, Covenants & Easements
  • Boundary Disputes
  • Nuisance Claims & Neighbour Disputes
  • Co-ownership Disputes
  • Adverse Possession
  • Japanese Knotweed

Residential Landlord & Tenant Possession Actions

Changes to the legislation impacted upon the rights of landlords to obtain possession orders and rules were introduced concerning deposits which have been held under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

Failure to comply with the rules may result in the landlord not being able to reclaim possession following the end of the tenancy.

The legislation has also impacted on how houses in multiple occupation are defined and licensed. Again, a failure to licence will result in an application for possession against one of the tenants being refused.

There has been case law concerning the method and timing of the service of notices requiring possession which are necessary before a possession action can be brought. Many mistakes are made in the drafting and service of these notices and extreme care is needed to avoid an application being dismissed at the hearing on a technicality.

Commercial and Landlord Possessions Including Forfeiture

Forfeiture is not a remedy generally available in the residential sector. However, it remains a remedy to a commercial landlord in the event of a tenant’s failure to pay rent or other breach of covenant.

In certain circumstances it may not be necessary to apply to Court to re-enter the property and forfeit the lease. However, great care needs to be taken before embarking on this course of action as an unlawful forfeiture is likely to lead to a claim by the tenant for damages.

Dilapidations

The starting point with any dilapidations claim is for a sensible compromise being reached in order to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigated disputes. Failure to comply with the defined protocol can have significant consequences particularly in relation to costs.

If you are negotiating a dilapidations claims, give us a call to dicuss how best to go about this.

Service Charges

The requirements of landlords and their managing agents to consult with their tenants are stringent and complicated. Failure to do so may well result in the service charge not being payable.

There are also provisions relating to the recovery of service charges and ground rents and in particular the ability to forfeit a lease or threaten to do so which previously was a potent weapon in the landlord’s armoury.

If you have any concerns regarding residential or commercial service charges please contact us.

Easements and Covenants

Rights of way, rights to park, rights of light and a whole host of other rights together with covenants not to do something such as erect a property or extend a property is an increasingly common issue.

Rights can be acquired in a number of different ways and covenants not to do something can be avoided by various means. Give us a call if you need any information on how to enforce or set aside an easement or covenant.

Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes are becoming more and more common but there are restrictions as to the evidence which is admissible and relevant in determining the dispute. The law has to some extent been clarified by a Court of Appeal decision in late 2006. Boundary disputes can be notoriously expensive and the key is getting the right evidence in place at the outset.

Nuisance Claims & Neighbour Disputes

One of the most common forms of nuisance which relate to property is the encroachment of tree roots from one plot of land to another. However, contrary to some beliefs, liability is not strict and in order to claim damages it is generally necessary for a neighbour to have been put on notice. Early notification is therefore vital.

If your neighbour is interfering with the enjoyment of your land, give us a call to see whether we can assist.

Co-Ownership Disputes

This is an extremely complicated area of property dispute law giving rise to issues of strict conveyancing, trust and estoppel.  Often it is possible to resolve a Dispute without recourse to the courts, but we are on hand should it become necessary to take action to force a sale.

Give us a call to discuss your situation.

Adverse Possession

There have been changes in the law relating to adverse possession since the implementation of the Land Registration Act 2002. However, what was intended to be a simplification of the law has in fact resulted in numerous complications as a result of transitional provisions within the Act and also case law which relate to human rights issues. Even now much care and understanding is needed in order to assess whether the old law or new law of a hybrid applies before an application to the Land Registry can be made.

Japanese Knotweed

We provide legal advice on the liabilities associated with Japanese Knotweed, an invasive weed that can cause significant liabilities for developers and landowners, in particular where it crosses property boundaries.

Failure to treat knotweed once aware of its presence can result in liability for any damage caused to neighbouring property.

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