Services
People
News and Events
Other
Blogs

Property

Commercial leases - protecting business through lockdown

Daniel Sturman
  • Posted
  • Author

Whilst we all hope the Covid-19 pandemic is in decline and that we will not see a return to lockdown at national level, the threat of a second wave still remains. So, if your business is about to take a lease of premises or you are already in an existing...

Neighbour disputes - potential claims and remedies

Laura Meers
  • Posted
  • Author

Disputes between neighbours can arise from a variety of different scenarios and are one of the most common types of disputes. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I have seen a huge increase in the number of enquiries relating to neighbour disputes. Therefore, I...

Essex receives its share of the £85 million 'Getting Building Fund'

David Rayner
  • Posted
  • Author

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has announced the final list of 34 projects approved by them and the Government for an £85 million share in the Government’s new ‘Getting Building Fund’. David Rayner, Commercial...

Are rent payments during Covid-19 causing a cash flow issue?

Sian Taylor
  • Posted
  • Author

As one of the largest expenses for businesses & commercial tenants, paying rent can be difficult to cover if you have suffered from cash flow issues due to the Covid-19 crisis. However, there are temporary options available to assist if your landlord is...

Stamp duty holiday - what does this mean?

Alison Bear
  • Posted
  • Author

On 8 th July 2020 Chancellor Rishi Sunak, announced in his Summer Statement a “stamp duty holiday” on residential property purchases in England and Northern Ireland.   With immediate effect home buyers will no longer pay Stamp Duty...

Businesses: Options for Tenants following COVID 19

Sian Taylor
  • Posted
  • Author

COVID 19 has brought with it many challenges and changed the way we work day-to-day. With lease rents being one of the largest business expenditures, many businesses are considering allowing employees to continue working from home following lockdown. Even...

Buying a house during coronavirus

Jemma Jones
  • Posted
  • Author

On 13 May 2020, the government brought in new rules for moving house during the COVID-19 outbreak. The current situation is not a return to normality and there are certain things you should think about carefully. Our expert property lawyers have this advice...

Covid19 and the rental market

David Feakins
  • Posted
  • Author

Emergency legislation is being implemented which will stop landlords from issuing proceedings to evict tenants. The Government announced radical measures yesterday. These measures ensure that no renter, in either social or private accommodation, will be...

Commercial landlords - is your property energy efficient enough?

Sian Taylor
  • Posted
  • Author

In recent years there has been a focus on energy efficiency in buildings in an effort to tackle climate change. Energy Performance Certificates (“EPCs”) show how energy efficient a property is by rating it on a scale of A+ to G (A+ being the...

Grenfell Tower - update on new measures

Daniel Sturman
  • Posted
  • Author

This month, the government announced new measures to improve the safety of buildings in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster. The new measures are: The creation of a Building Safety Regulator (“BSR”) to oversee the design and management...

Developers and Help to Buy scheme changes

Claudia Hubert
  • Posted
  • Author

The Help to Buy scheme has continued to rise in popularity in recent years, with 52,404 Help to Buy loans issued in England in 2018/19. However, the rules on the Help to Buy scheme will soon be changing, and developers will need to adapt their product to...

Stamp Duty Land Tax changes

Sian Taylor
  • Posted
  • Author

As of 1 March 2019, the time limit for submitting a Stamp Duty Land Tax return, or SDLT return, has been changed. Previously, buyers had to submit their SDLT return and pay their tax liability to HMRC within 30 days of the “effective date” (which...

Government to remove Grenfell-style cladding

Daniel Sturman
  • Posted
  • Author

Last year, I spoke about the government consultation on the possible banning of combustible cladding used in external walls of high-rise residential properties such as the Grenfell Tower.  However, the government has now decided to remove...

Women in law: Administration apprentice to lawyer

  • Posted

I first started working at Birkett Long when I was just 16 years old and aspired to be a legal secretary. I did not want to stay at sixth form or go to university so I knew I needed to enrol onto an apprenticeship scheme. The perfect opportunity came up...

Leasehold scandal... Leasehold V Freehold

Lisa Cox
  • Posted
  • Author

The “leasehold scandal” continues, as the BBC reported recently that, according to a new survey, almost half the people who bought a leasehold house in the past decade did not know what they were signing up to, and 62% of respondents feel they...

Taxpayers victorious on Business Property Relief claim

Caroline Dowding
  • Posted
  • Author

There have been many high profile cases in recent years in which executors have endeavoured to claim Business Property Relief (BPR) on let holiday cottages, in a bid to save on Inheritance Tax – all of which have failed. Until now, let cottages have...

Clear leases save significant costs

Daniel Sturman
  • Posted
  • Author

The High Court has recently reiterated the need for clarity in leases and of their terms in the case of Goldman Sachs International v Procession House Trustee 1 Ltd and Procession House Trustee 2 Ltd.   The case began with both parties agreeing on...

Combustible cladding in high rise residential buildings

Daniel Sturman
  • Posted
  • Author

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the government is currently consulting on the possible banning of combustible cladding used in external walls of high rise residential properties. The government has indicated that their preferred way forward would be to...

Inadequate commercial lease ruling

Daniel Sturman
  • Posted
  • Author

The Court of Appeal has recently ruled on the inadequacies of a commercial lease, which has sent a message to all landlords and tenants about the risks of an improperly drafted lease. In the case of J N Hipwell & Son v Szurek , Mrs Szurek, the tenant,...

Residential property specialist joins leading law firm

Jasmin Patel
  • Posted
  • Author

Jasmin Patel, solicitor and residential property law specialist has joined leading Essex law firm Birkett Long, adding experience to a growing South Essex team. Jasmin, 28, completed her training contract with an Essex law firm and qualified as a solicitor...

Graham Farrant visits Birkett Long's Colchester Office

Emma Coke FALA
  • Posted
  • Author

We were fortunate to meet Graham Farrant, Chief Land Registrar, yesterday  to hear his views on the Land Registry and to discuss our experiences of the service. Graham described an organisation that is committed to continuous improvement in the service...

Avoiding loneliness - Is a return to student living the answer

  • Posted

Having just had a daughter complete a three-year university course, it was very interesting to read a recent newspaper article about five 60+ women who are looking to share a communal home in the same way that so many students do. It is well known that...

How can I protect my property against fraud?

Jess Birch
  • Posted
  • Author

Property is an attractive target for fraudsters. There are many sophisticated schemes including scammers trying to sell your property from under your nose using false documents, intercepting funds during a purchase or a sale and even impersonating the owner...

Preferred route for new Lower Thames Crossing announced.

David Rayner
  • Posted
  • Author

On 12 April the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced the long-awaited decision on the preferred route for the new Lower Thames Crossing, saying that it could create more than 6,000 jobs and boost the economy by more than £8 billion. The new...

The after effects of SDLT - what next?

  • Posted

Now that we have all had a chance to breathe again following what will now forever be known as “March Madness”, we can now have the chance to see the effect of the new SDLT rates on property prices. I know that there has been much speculation as...

Record number of property completions for Essex law firm

  • Posted

No doubt conveyancers across England and Wales are all breathing a sigh of relief and blood pressures have returned to normal, now that the deadline for transactions ahead of the new SDLT has passed. The CHAPS operating hours are set to be extended in the...

The Budget and the outlook for commercial real estate market in 2016

Thomas Emmett
  • Posted
  • Author

Chancellor George Osborne made a number of announcements affecting commercial property in the Budget last week. For example, the way Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on freehold commercial property and leasehold premium transactions is calculated has been changed....

First time buyers

Marina Athanasiou
  • Posted
  • Author

Figures released by the Association of Residential Lettings Agents and reported by the BBC today  suggest that potential First Time Buyers are spending large portions of their incomes on rent, rather than saving for that all important deposit. A rising...

What do property investors do on boxing day?

  • Posted

For most of us, a fairly typical Boxing Day routine is to watch old films, eat leftovers, avoid family members and formulate ideas for Judicial Review. It’s just that classic Christmas routine. This year in fact, a couple of Property Investors have...

Is your flood insurance watertight?

David Rayner
  • Posted
  • Author

The recent flooding in Scotland and northern England has brought sympathetic responses from all of us and statements from the government to do more on flood defences. However, homes and businesses everywhere need to check their insurance policies. For...

What does the Autumn statement mean for residential property?

Rachel Leech
  • Posted
  • Author

George Osbourne released his Autumn Statement yesterday which has proved to be a big win for first time buyers. The biggest building programme since the 1970’s was announced, with the housing budget being doubled to over £2 million per...

£525m Builders' Finance Fund: Only £1m allocated

Peter Allen
  • Posted
  • Author

This article was in the BBC news today £525m Builders' Finance Fund: Only £1m allocated.  Its clearly disappointing that this money has not been allocated and clearly won’t be used by time it is withdrawn in March 2017. It is...

The 'housing crisis'

  • Posted

We have all been seeing in the news recently, and possibly even experienced the problem first hand, that we in England are experiencing a “housing crisis”.  To give you a brief picture of the problem, the National Housing Federation...

Eviction flaw alarm

  • Posted

Residential landlords should be warned that crucial legal forms needed to evict tenants are flawed and could lead property owners to fall foul of the law. Most landlords know that if they do not protect deposits in an authorised tenancy deposit scheme,...

Residential Property Market 2015

  • Posted

So 2014 has been described by some as a fascinating year for property market prices.  Nationwide Price Index indicated a high in June with an average increase of 11.8% year on year.  This slowed towards the latter part of the year with an overall...

It's a South East Essex thing

  • Posted

Surges in completions and new instructions came across my desk this last month. It’s a reassuring sign in January, traditionally a quiet month for a conveyancer. Usually the desire to ‘be in before Christmas’ makes my cabinet quite sparse...

Commercial Real Estate - What to expect in 2015

  • Posted

As January is already flying by, now seems a sensible time to consider what the next 12 months might have in store for those in the Commercial Real Estate Sector. It is hard to predict all of the potential developments, particularly with the Parliamentary...

Think selling at auction is only for repossessions?

  • Posted

Every year hundreds, if not thousands, of people choose to sell their residential and commercial property and parcels of land.  The majority of people will use the “typical” route of instructing an estate agent and then waiting patiently...

A tale of energy efficiency and the cabinet reshuffle

David Rayner
  • Posted
  • Author

Energy looks likely to be a key battleground between the major political parties in the run up to next year’s election. Ed Miliband has pledged to freeze energy prices, whilst David Cameron has indicated he would cut green levies to save consumers up...

Check your service charge payments when exercising a break clause

  • Posted

It was decided in a recent case that a tenant who had paid money in advance for anticipated expenditure to be carried out before the lease termination date was entitled to a refund of part of that money where they exercised a break clause to bring an end to...

What links Willie Nelson, natural gas and the law?

  • Posted

In a recent interview, Willie Nelson condemned the controversial practice of fracking as ‘bad for the land, bad for the farmers and bad for the soil’. Just in case there was any doubt as to his position, he went on to denounce it as ‘an all...

Do you want to avoid the floods?

Jess Birch
  • Posted
  • Author

The recent period of wet weather and subsequent flooding is a reminder to us all that the location of a property should be a relevant factor in any property purchase. Many homeowners have not only had the contents of their houses destroyed but, worse, they...

Recovery in the housing market

Kurt Goddard
  • Posted
  • Author

2013 has seen something of an explosion in the residential property market and our Residential Real Estate teams. All three of our offices are busier than they have been for some years. According to official Land Registry data the volume of transactions...

Protect your house this Winter

  • Posted

It is estimated that fraud costs this country around £38 billion each year. It is encouraging then, to note that a property fraud line has recently been launched which allows owners to quickly alert the Land Registry if they suspect that their property...

Green Deal - Council of Mortgage Lenders policy

  • Posted

It looks as though next year’s property market will be an interesting one for property lawyers and homebuyers! The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has published a summary of its approach to the Green Deal scheme. The scheme involves a “pay as...

Is the Green Deal stuck on a red light?

  • Posted

It looks as though the government’s new initiative for improving the energy efficiency of buildings in the UK is receiving a mixed reception on its introduction. The scheme which involves a “pay as you save” finance plan available from...

Our Real Estate team is evolving

  • Posted

It was great to see so many of our professional colleagues at our breakfast on 10 July to welcome our new Real Estate Department, which has been created to meet the challenges and demands of today’s property market. We look forward to seeing you at...

If I ruled the town.....

  • Posted

In May 2012 the government announced which town centres in England were successful in their bids to become one of the “Portas Pilot” towns. This selection was based on the quality of the individual submissions, which has attracted some criticism...

Get thee behind me Satan

David Rayner
  • Posted
  • Author

Never let it be said that property lawyers are out of touch with the modern world. Most people who buy houses or business premises – by a lease or purchase – will have had their lawyer carry out a Chancel Repair Search on their behalf and if...

You can have common intentions as cohabitees - provided the court agrees with you

  • Posted

This ever changing area of law has thrown up yet another controversial decision from the High Court. The facts of Aspden v Elvy are quite complicated, mainly because a different version of events is put forward by each party, below is a brief summary of the...

The common intention you might not have known you had

  • Posted

I, along with most family lawyers up and down the country, spent yesterday morning awaiting the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Kernott v Jones. Leonard Kernott and Patricia Jones were an unmarried couple who met in 1980 and bought their first...

What if one of us dies?

  • Posted

Geoffrey Boycott is facing difficulties following the death of his “friend and confidante”, Anne Wyatt. They purchased a house together in the millionaires’ resort of Sandbanks, Dorset in 1996. They purchased the property as “Joint...

Dale Farm - where will they go?

Keith Songhurst
  • Posted
  • Author

It appears that the long running battle between residents of Dale Farm and Basildon District Council is finally nearing a conclusion of sorts with bailiffs poised to move in to evict the unlawful occupiers. With the eviction currently anticipated to...

The joy of buckets

  • Posted

Yes indeed, when the sun is shining, the schools are still out and everyone wants to move house. there really is nothing quite like a good bucket shop conveyancing organisation to bring you back to reality with a bang! This week is one of the busiest of the...

Water companies steam ahead with plans for sewer adoption

  • Posted

Water companies across the country are now sending notices to owners of private sewers and lateral drains informing them that they intend to take over ownership of those sewers and drains with effect from 1 October 2011. However, the whole of the private...

The bigger picture

  • Posted

Being interested in photography, my attention was drawn to a recent photograph on the internet which was taken in Vancouver, of a young couple lying in the road kissing while the police were trying to quash a riot going on around them. It seemed such a...

Law Commission Report on making Land Law work

  • Posted

The Law Commission has recently published its recommendations for the reform of the law relating to easements, covenants and profits à Prendre, all of which are, in one way or another, rights or obligations in relation to land and are encountered on a...