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Rates – Check, Challenge, Appeal

The Check, Challenge, Appeal Regime replaces a long-established process of challenging rates assessments. It is frontloaded, heavily prescribed, procedurally burdensome – and risky. There are three stages:

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Equity – exoneration

The ‘equity of exoneration’ is a 19th century common law doctrine, which is still of important modern application.

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ACV – consequences

The assets of community value regime was introduced by Localism Act 2011. But, what are the consequences of registration as an ACV? In essence, there are three:

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Restrictive covenant – insurance?

If you are buying a property subject to a restrictive covenant, do you need to take out insurance to cover liability for your predecessors’ breaches?

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Restrictive covenant – holiday bungalow

Many holiday bungalows or chalets are subject to use restrictions, so the property can only be used for a certain number of weeks pa (so as to avoid it becoming a full-time residence). Such a restriction will usually be imposed because of a planning condition.

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Easement – mere ‘recreation’

A mere right of ‘recreation’ will not pass as an easement (Ellenborough Park [1955]). But, despite that, the High Court has held that the right to use a golf course, swimming pool or tennis court was a binding easement.

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Easement – access point?

A right of way was granted so far as it was ‘necessary’ to gain access to the property. But, could the easement owner move the location of the access gates?

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Construction – ‘smash and grab’ adjudications

There has been an ever increasing trend in the construction sector for losing parties to try to side-step the decision made by an adjudicator, through the use of enforcement proceedings. However, Coulson J has put his foot down on parties trying to resist the enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision on the basis that the adjudicator simply ‘got it wrong’.

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Rates – revaluation

The business rates revaluation that came into force on 1 April 2017 has caused much controversy. In part, this is because RVs are based on the rent payable for the premises – and there have been significant rent increases in recent years (especially in London and the south-east). Revaluations are supposed to recur every five years, but the 2015 revaluation was delayed.

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Rates – refurbishment

The Supreme Court has handed down a judgment that will be welcomed by all commercial property developers. The court has reversed the previous CA decision and held that only nominal rates have to be paid when a building is being redeveloped.

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