The Practical Lawyer


Break option – less strict test?

It is well known that break options are strictly construed, and all requirements must be followed to the letter before the option can be validly exercised. The classic example is Bairstow Eves [1993] where T had covenanted to decorate the premises in the last year of the term; in fact, T decorated four months before the beginning of the final year, but that was held to be a breach and thus T could not exercise the option to renew its lease.

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Restrictive covenant – interference with view?

We all know that, in law, there is no right to a ‘view’. But, a recent case shows how a restrictive covenant against ‘annoyance’ can be used to protect a view.

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SDLT – group relief lost

FA 2008 introduced important changes to the way group relief operates – in particular, how the relief can be clawed back if there is a subsequent ‘change of control’ of the purchaser.

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SDLT – apportioning goodwill

Not everyone is happy with the Revenue’s new approach to the assessment of goodwill on a trade sale (when the business is sold as a going concern). As we noted in our March 2009 issue (p15) HMRC now takes the view that goodwill is an asset that is separate from the land, and it will nearly always exist in such transactions.

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Conveyancing deeds – inserting pages?

What happens if a client signs a deed, but the solicitor then amends the document (eg inserts a revised page)? In practice, this happens a lot but the wisdom of such practices has been thrown into doubt by a recent tax case.

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Mortgage – possession

Lenders will now have to give occupiers longer notice of residential possession proceedings.

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France – inheritance

Don’t forget that the major trap for UK residents buying property in France is that they fall foul of the French rules on inheritance.

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Agent – no secret fee

The rules on estate agents (and on all other agents) are strict: the agent must not obtain any fee or payment without the express consent of the client.

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Right of way – interpretation

The defendant converted his building into a pub, with the rear yard being a beer garden. He claimed the benefit of a right of way through a passage on his neighbour’s land but the neighbour argued that the right of way did not extend to such an extensive use.

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Charging order – notice

The best protection for a charging order is for it to be noted as a notice in the Register. This is because when a transfer for valuable consideration or a legal charge is registered, the transferee or chargee will usually only be bound by a charging order that has been noted.

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