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IHT – Business Property Relief

Business property relief (BPR) gives a wide exemption to inheritance tax. Needless to say, there are various conditions that apply. In particular, BPR will not be available if the business ‘consists wholly or mainly’ of ‘dealing in securities, stocks or shares, land or building or making or holding investments’. From a practical point of view this is likely to exclude most businesses that involve the letting of property. In general, tribunals have held that letting property is a business that consists wholly or mainly in the making or holding of investments, no matter how extensive the services provided.

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Boundary disputes – protocol

An informal protocol for boundary disputes between neighbours has been developed by Falcon Chambers and Hogan Lovells (and has the support of the Property Litigation Association).

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Overage – ‘social/community purposes’

A housing site was sold by the landowner to a developer. Terms included an overage agreement, whereby the developer agreed to pay the seller 30% of the final sale proceeds (above a stated sum). To prevent the developer artificially reducing the sale proceeds there were restrictions on types of disposals he could make – although he was allowed to make a ‘transfer of land for roads, footpath… or other social/community purposes’.

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Easement – declaration?

A developer worried about a right to light (or any other easement that may be claimable by a neighbour) runs the risk of an injunction if the development proceeds without having first consulted the neighbour. As we have seen, insurance products are available to cover this situation (with modern policies allowing negotiations with the neighbour).

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Overage – non-compliance

A recent case involved an overage agreement whereby seller sold land (which had planning permission) to buyer. The sale agreement allowed seller ten months in which to get planning permission for an increased square footage (upon which the overage payment would become due).  

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Right to ‘enter’ – right to ‘inspect’?

A property owner had the right to ‘enter with workmen, tools and materials on adjoining land… for the purpose of effecting maintenance, repair and decoration’.  

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Right of way – to other property?

Can a right of way granted to plot A be used to access plot B? The normal answer will be ‘no’ – the right of way will benefit plot A (the dominant land) only.  

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Leases – basement extensions

There is still a legal presumption that ‘he who owns the soil owns up to heaven and down to hell’. But, how does that work in the context of a leaseholder who wants to dig down and create a basement extension?

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Adverse possession – registered proprietor?

The Upper Tribunal has said that a registered proprietor can never be in adverse possession of the land.  

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