The Practical Lawyer


Highway – ransom strips

Buyers need to be alert to the existence of highway ransom strips – which are strips of land in third-party ownership separating the site from the publicly adopted highway. In such a situation it will not be possible for the landowner to get directly onto the highway without crossing the strip, and thus an action (or injunction) for trespass may lie.

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Airbnb – Deregulation Act 2015

Deregulation Act 2015 allows the use of residential premises in Greater London for temporary sleeping accommodation for up to 90 days pa, without this being a material change of use (for planning purposes). At the same time, the Act allows LAs to apply to the Secretary of State for particular residential premises to be excluded from that provision.

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SDLT – 3% surcharge

At the end of 2016, HMRC published updated guidance on the 3% SDLT residential surcharge as it applies to: student accommodation, subsidiary dwellings, lease extensions, legal interests with no beneficial interest, and mixed-use property:

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SDLT – commercial property

  A reminder that in March 2016 SDLT on commercial premises changed from the ‘slab’ system to the ‘slice’ system (in the same way as is charged on residential property). The rates are:

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SDLT – 15% super-rate

  A flat rate of 15% (the super-rate) applies to purchases of single interests in dwellings worth £500,000 or more by companies.

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Restrictive covenant – estate

Section 84(1) LPA 1925 allows application to the UT for the modification of restrictive covenants. A recent case is of interest because it is a relatively unusual example of a development managing to preserve and protect its character over a relatively long period of time.

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Conditional contract – ‘all’ conditions

  If you are drafting a conditional contract then be sure to make it clear which conditions have to be complied with. Clarity in drafting is essential – as is illustrated by a recent case involving the sloppy use of the word ‘all’.

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Estate agent – contract ‘trigger’

  A property developer had eight flats to sell in Hackney. He was put in touch with an estate agent who agreed to try and find a buyer at 2% commission, but no mention was made of what event would trigger that liability to pay. But, within six days the agent had negotiated the ‘subject to contract’ sale of the lot to a housing association. The next day he sent the developer his terms of business. But, was the developer liable to pay the commission?

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Non-domiciled – residential property

Source: Dechert.


Development – public procurement?

The question of whether the public procurement rules apply to land development agreements has long been the subject of controversy. Much of this dates back to the high-water decision of Roanne [2007] which created many problems for LAs and other public bodies who wanted to enter into agreements with developers, but found themselves constrained by the public procurement rules.

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