How to repossess your property from squatters

Squatters have been an inconvenience for landlords, both residential and commercial, for many years. Of course, in residential situations, a person trespassing, or squatting in a house is a criminal offence, and assistance from the police is common. In a commercial scenario, the situation is far more complex and time-consuming, with a squatter having to be evicted with assistance from the courts and with possession being enforced by County or High Court Enforcement Officers. Our Litigation department at Bowling & Co recently assisted a client to recover possession of their…

Landlords must gear up for new safety checks 

Residential landlords must get their house in order with the arrival of further legislation to protect tenants through electrical and building safety requirements. New electrical safety standards are rolling out for private sector tenancies and the other upcoming challenge for residential landlords is fire safety compliance for building structures.  Both safety aspects have been accelerated following tragic outcomes.  Electricity causes about half of the UK’s 37,000 house fires a year, according to the charity Electrical Safety First, and faulty electrics cause some 70 deaths and 350,000 injuries each year in…

Retail tenants should check the small print

As a fresh wave of lockdown measures cut across the UK, retail tenants may be experiencing new concerns about how to pay the rent, but another ticking timebomb is the viability of their landlords. Even before the pandemic, the high street was undergoing radical change and the continuing restrictions have seen a dramatic shift in consumer habits towards online shopping. Faced with such a shift towards e-commerce, few were surprised to see the recent demise of Intu, a large retail landlord with shopping centres that include the Trafford Centre in…

Property boom as home and overseas buyers rush to beat the deadline 

Property buyers are fighting off the pandemic to catch a new home before stamp duty goes back to its normal rate.  For overseas buyers, the race is even more important, as the rate will carry an additional surcharge for them from April. As part of the range of measures to provide economic support through the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government introduced a temporary holiday for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the first £500,000 of purchases, but this will come to an end on 31 March 2021, when it will revert…

Applying for relief from forfeiture? Act without delay

A recent high court case shows the importance of acting on time when applying for relief from forfeiture. The basics of the case were as follows: The tenants (being the Claimants in this matter) had the benefit of a 21-year lease for a property in Leicester (which was entered into in 2008). The Property, which was a ground floor shop with a residential flat above it, attracted a £2,000 quarterly rent instalment. In June 2018 the Claimants had, by way of a mistake, paid 1,500 of the rent thereby going…

Lockdown 2 and home improvements: When do you need planning permission?

With recent announcements from both the UK and Scottish government about further lockdown restrictions, you might be planning to fill your time with some home improvements. At the time of writing, tradespeople are exempt from lockdown restrictions and may enter your home to carry out necessary repairs. However, you should be aware that certain modifications to your home and garden may require specific permissions. In this article, we look at where you can find the information you need and provide a brief guide to when you may and may not…

Tenants’ guide to commercial leases during a pandemic

Whilst various lockdown restrictions have been eased, others have only recently been introduced. This has led to a plethora of concerns with some commercial tenants now seeking clarity in respect of their position. Accordingly, we have put together a guide below to clarify some points commonly raised. What to do once your lease term ends? If you have decided to move on upon the end of your contractual term, then all you would need to do is simply move out. However, if recent events have resulted in indecision with your…

High Court – implications of lease terms when giving up a lease

In a case at the High Court on the 23rd September 2020, the High Court examined how a clause in the lease about returning the property to the landlord at the end of the lease applied where asbestos was left buried across the site at the end of a lease. The tenant had appointed consultants to remove buildings from the site. The consultants' works in dismantling the buildings had disturbed asbestos-containing materials and spread them across the site. As with all such matters, the facts of the case were critical,…

FCA consults on additional guidance for mortgage providers in COVID-19

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced proposals to ensure that firms provide tailored support to mortgage borrowers who continue to face payment difficulties due to coronavirus. The FCA has published a guidance consultation setting out further information for mortgage providers and COVID-19 affected borrowers. The FCA's proposals aim to support mortgage borrowers who have taken up payment deferrals and who continue to face financial difficulties. The proposals will also help those whose financial situation may now be affected by COVID-19 post lockdown. The draft (in consultation until 1 September)…

CLC guidance on the use of face coverings in construction

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has published its latest guidance, The Use of Face Coverings in Construction during Coronavirus (COVID-19). The key points to note: That while the use of face coverings is mandatory for a number of public places, the government's guidance on construction and other outdoor work does not require face coverings for COVID! Unless there are suspected cased of COVID. Normal PPE is to be used where required but this is not as an extra for COVID. In the guidance, there is an explanation of face coverings…

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