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Commercial Property Updates

Purpose of Bargain Relevant to Contract Interpretation

Published on: 03 September 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Purpose of Bargain Relevant to Contract Interpretation

In concluding that the owners of light industrial units on a trading estate are liable to contribute towards the costs of maintaining a road giving access to their premises, the Court of Appeal has emphasised that the factual background and the commercial purposes of a bargain are relevant to the interpretation of contracts.

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Developers Caught in Unforeseen VAT Wrangle

Published on: 29 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

In a ruling which underlines the wisdom of seeking professional advice on the potentially complex and unforeseen tax implications of property sales, developers have succeeded in persuading the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) that the sale of a refurbished former children’s home to an educational charity was exempt from VAT.

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Pre-Emptive Injunction Blocks Gypsies Threat

Published on: 26 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Pre-Emptive Injunction Blocks Gypsies Threat

In an unusual case which revealed the High Court’s power to guard against wrongful acts - even before they happen – a temporary injunction was granted on the basis of little more than a rumour that gypsy families were preparing to move onto a green belt site.

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Tough Limits on ‘Residential Conversion’ VAT Exemption

Published on: 21 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Tough Limits on ‘Residential Conversion’ VAT Exemption

In a decision which places tight limits on a VAT exemption widely used by property developers, the Upper Tribunal has ruled that extensive works carried out on a barn did not quality as a ‘residential conversion’ because the restored structure was attached to an existing cottage and was not fitted with a kitchen of its own.

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‘Annexe’ or ‘Extension’? For VAT Purposes the Distinction Matters

Published on: 15 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

‘Annexe’ or ‘Extension’? For VAT Purposes the Distinction Matters

In a decision which casts light on the difficult, but frequently important, distinction between ‘annexes’ and ‘extensions’ for tax purposes, a further education college has failed to win a VAT exemption in respect of materials used in the construction of its new art and design block.

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Court has Jurisdiction to Rule on Foreign Land Dispute

Published on: 29 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Court has Jurisdiction to Rule on Foreign Land Dispute

In a ruling which helps to define the dividing line between the concepts of domicile and habitual residence, the Court of Appeal has dismissed a dual nationality businessman’s plea that the English courts have no jurisdiction to resolve a dispute concerning the abortive purchase of a holiday home in Egypt.

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Housing Renewal Planners Cleared of ‘Salami Slicing’

Published on: 29 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Housing Renewal Planners Cleared of ‘Salami Slicing’

In a bitter defeat for campaign group, Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE), the High Court has opened the way for demolition of a Victorian chapel after rejecting claims that planners had engaged in illegitimate ‘salami slicing’ in order to avoid the necessity of carrying out a full environmental impact assessment.

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‘Elegant’ Scheme to Avoid £2.6 Million in Stamp Duty Fails

Published on: 28 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

‘Elegant’ Scheme to Avoid £2.6 Million in Stamp Duty Fails

In a ruling which vividly underlines that even the best laid tax plans cannot always succeed, a ‘simple and elegant’ scheme which was designed to save £2.6 million in stamp duty on the purchase of an Oxford Street department store has been declared ineffective by the Court of Appeal.

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High Speed Rail Link Objectors Head to Supreme Court

Published on: 24 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

High Speed Rail Link Objectors Head to Supreme Court

Objectors to the government’s controversial plans for a multi-billion-pound high speed rail link slashing travel times between London and Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds today failed in their latest legal challenge to the proposals.

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New School Plans Overcome Restrictive Covenant

Published on: 22 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

New School Plans Overcome Restrictive Covenant

In a decision which will assist in the interpretation of restrictive covenants, the Court of Appeal has ruled that construction of a new school on playing fields was not precluded by an 82-year-old conveyance which forbade uses of the land which might cause nuisance or annoyance to neighbouring property owners.

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Court Guidance on Approach to ‘Prematurity’ In Major Planning Cases

Published on: 18 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Court Guidance on Approach to ‘Prematurity’ In Major Planning Cases

In giving important guidance as to the correct approach to substantial planning applications that may have an impact on the future formulation of land-use policies, the High Court has rejected claims that consent for the development of 800 new homes on the edge of a small Warwickshire village was granted prematurely.

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Late Challenge to Planning Decision Allowed

Published on: 11 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Late Challenge to Planning Decision Allowed

In a case which underlines the difficulties that can be caused by delay in planning cases, the Court of Appeal has ruled that campaigners opposed to a substantial residential development were correctly permitted to amend the grounds of their appeal after the expiry of the six-week limitation period contained within section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

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Defiance of Planning Control Can Lead to Jail

Published on: 09 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Defiance of Planning Control Can Lead to Jail

A landowner who failed to clear his agricultural holding of inappropriate development despite receiving a £250,000 fine for his repeated breaches of planning control has been given a suspended prison sentence for his contempt of court.

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Procedural Fairness Crucial to Planning Decisions

Published on: 02 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Procedural Fairness Crucial to Planning Decisions

The vital importance of procedural fairness in administrative decision-making has been underlined by the High Court’s decision to overturn outline planning consent granted by a government inspector for development of 100 new homes on the edge of an Essex village.

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Surveyors Fend Off Professional Negligence Claim

Published on: 26 June 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Surveyors Fend Off Professional Negligence Claim

Property owners (the claimants) who paid over £16 million to acquire a historic office building have failed to convince the High Court that a firm of surveyors (the firm) was negligent in failing to identify serious structural defects in the property prior to the purchase.

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DIY Builder Triumphs in VAT Rebate Claim

Published on: 01 September 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

In a case which gives useful guidance on the tax treatment of residential occupancy conditions attached to planning consents, a DIY builder who constructed a new home for himself adjoining his equestrian business has triumphed in his fight for a substantial VAT rebate on the costs of materials used in the project.

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Property Developer's Bankruptcy is no Private Matter

Published on: 27 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Property Developer's Bankruptcy is no Private Matter

In a ruling which underlines that bankruptcy is not a private matter that can be kept from the public gaze, a newspaper has been granted permission to view and report the contents of the court file in respect of a property developer who is said to have run up debts of €1.5 billion in the Irish property meltdown.

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Waste Recovery Park Receives High Court Green Light

Published on: 22 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Waste Recovery Park Receives High Court Green Light

Ambitious plans for a state-of-the-art waste recovery centre - which were approved by local planners just a week before £65 million in central government funding for the project was withdrawn – have been given the green light by the High Court.

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Major Expansion of Cornish City Receives Green Light

Published on: 18 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Major Expansion of Cornish City Receives Green Light

Controversial plans for the eastward expansion of the Cornish city of Truro have been given the green light by the High Court after it accepted that policy objections to the ambitious proposals were outweighed by the economic, social and environmental advantages that it would bring to the area.

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Tenant Caught in Costly Legal Wrangle by Lack of Professional Advice

Published on: 08 August 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Tenant Caught in Costly Legal Wrangle by Lack of Professional Advice

In a case which bitterly underlines the good sense of seeking legal advice before entering into even apparently simple property transactions, a ‘naïve’ tenant who signed a lease on the basis of a fundamental error of law had to resort to costly litigation to sort out the resulting mess.

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Oil Prospectors Triumph in Green Belt Challenge

Published on: 29 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Oil Prospectors Triumph in Green Belt Challenge

In a vivid illustration of the strength of government policies favouring the creation of new energy resources, an oil and gas prospecting company has triumphed in its High Court fight to overturn a planning inspector’s refusal of consent for exploratory oil drilling in the Surrey green belt.

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Widow Stripped of Title to Cricket Club’s Outfield

Published on: 28 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Widow Stripped of Title to Cricket Club’s Outfield

The harsh impact that the principle of adverse possession can have on landowners has been starkly revealed by the extinguishment of an elderly widow’s tittle to part of a cricket club’s outfield that had been in her husband’s family for generations.

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Chalet Tenants Cannot Escape Service Charges ‘Bad Bargain’

Published on: 25 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Chalet Tenants Cannot Escape Service Charges ‘Bad Bargain’

In a case which starkly underlines the dramatic and often unforeseen impact compound interest can have on apparently modest service charges, holiday chalet tenants who could end up paying their landlord more than a million pounds-a-year have failed in a Court of Appeal bid to escape from their catastrophically bad bargain.

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Nursing Home Builders Win VAT Exemption

Published on: 24 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Nursing Home Builders Win VAT Exemption

In a case which gives useful guidance on the difference between ‘new build ‘ and extension or enlargement of existing properties, the builders of a substantial nursing home which had an old church as its centre-piece have convinced the First-Tier Tribunal that the entire construction project should be exempted from VAT.

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Developer Pays Heavy Price for Dishonest VAT Evasion

Published on: 21 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Developer Pays Heavy Price for Dishonest VAT Evasion

In a case which vividly reveals that dabbling in the black economy can have crushing financial consequences, a property developer who paid sub-contractors in cash and submitted bogus invoices to the tax authorities is facing a penalty of almost £40,000 after failing to convince the First-Tier Tribunal that naïve incompetence was his only fault.

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Rates Scheme Charity Wound Up

Published on: 16 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Rates Scheme Charity Wound Up

The charitable trust set up to allow commercial property owners to take advantage of the relief given against business rates for charity occupation of commercial premises has been wound up.

A court ruling decided that the Public Safety Charitable Trust’s minimal occupation of the 2,000 premises it let from commercial landlords did not succeed in making them exempt from business rates.

The Trust’s mode of operation had been to pay its landlords peppercorn rents and required them to pay it a reverse premium to occupy the premises.

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Legal Costs ‘Wagged the Dog’ of Construction Dispute

Published on: 10 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Legal Costs ‘Wagged the Dog’ of Construction Dispute

In the context of a construction dispute where legal costs bills vastly exceeded the sums that were realistically recoverable and ended up ‘wagging the dog’, the High Court has sent a powerful message to litigants that it is often better to settle their differences at an early stage than to resort to legal action.

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Second World War Aerodrome Planning Battle

Published on: 03 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Second World War Aerodrome Planning Battle

In a case which involved detailed analysis of a planning history going back more than 70 years, the owners of an aerodrome built during the Second World War have failed to convince the High Court (the Court) that, in 2013, they are entitled to a certificate of lawful use embracing unrestricted aviation activities.

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Landmark Heathrow Squatters Ruling

Published on: 02 July 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Landmark Heathrow Squatters Ruling

In a ruling of vital significance to all landowners, the Court of Appeal has opened the way for eviction of squatters from the likely route of Heathrow Airport’s third runway and given guidance on the right balance to be struck between private property rights and the human rights of those who make their homes on unlawfully occupied land.

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Charities Triumph in Stamp Duty Test Case

Published on: 25 June 2013 | in categories: Commercial Property Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Charities Triumph in Stamp Duty Test Case

In a major boost for charities, the Court of Appeal has cured an anomaly in the law which prevented them from claiming relief from stamp duty in circumstances where they do not acquire the entirety of the beneficial interest in a property.

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