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Development – agricultural land

Gaining vacant possession of agricultural land can be difficult. The first task is to identify the agricultural occupier’s legal interest: is it a lease or merely a licence; is it for agricultural use, or is it for business use?

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CLLS – certificate of title

The City of London Law Society has updated the seventh edition of its certificate of title.

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Village green – right of way?

Can a landowner oppose an application for registration as a village green on the basis that the public are merely using an existing public right of way? The answer in principle is ‘yes’, in that the court will discount the usage arising from use of the public way, and merely take into account other usages.

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Occupier’s liability – duty

Occupier’s liability duties towards visitors are set out in OLA 1957; duties to trespassers are in OLA 1984. Both Acts apply to ‘any danger’ due to the state of the premises or to things done or omitted to be done on them. But, there is different wording as to the extent of those duties. Under the 1957 Act (‘visitors’) the duty is to ‘see that the visitor will be reasonably safe’, whereas under the 1984 Act (‘trespassers’), the duty is to ‘see that he does not suffer injury… by reason of the danger’.

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UK tax – enveloped

Companies holding UK residential properties are subject to an annual tax, the annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED). However, ATED does not apply to a company if its UK residential properties are let on a commercial basis to unconnected persons.

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Personal guarantees – unfair terms?

There has been an important CJEU ruling on when the Unfair Terms Directive (ie Consumer Rights Act 2015, and previously Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regs 1999) apply to personal guarantees given by individuals.

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Electronic communications – code

The Electronic Communications Code dates back to 1984 and sets out the legal framework for telecoms operators to keep masts etc on private land. A new draft code has now been issued (as part of the Digital Economy Bill). It sets out the significant changes that are almost certain to happen under the new regime:

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Misrepresentation – threefold test

A neat illustration from TLT Solicitors as to how the laws of misrepresentation might apply. The scenario involved is when a buyer of a flat does not think that the block of flats has the secure car parking promised in the marketing material, but L disagrees, arguing they have put in place a number of security measures. The end result is that T sues for misrepresentation:

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Rentcharges – rip-off admin charges

A recent Upper Tribunal decision highlights the potential problems of buying a property subject to a rentcharge. Many people wrongly think that rentcharges are a mere hangover from the past and are unlikely to cause difficulties for homeowners. But, this case shows that rentcharges can be problematic, and the dangers of them should be highlighted by conveyancers to those buying subject to rentcharges.

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Special vehicle – English limited partnership

English limited partnerships (ELPs) are frequently used as property-holding structures. In essence, this is a partnership set up under the Limited Partnership Act 1907 with a general partner and one or more limited partners:

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