Disputes | Real Estate Disputes


With property-related legal advice forming one of our principal activities, we are able to draw on decades’ worth of expertise in tackling the disputes that typically arise in relation to land. This familiarity allows us to respond quickly and effectively, to advise on the options and to take the practical and procedural steps most likely to meet your objectives.

 

Our clients include some of the biggest house-builders in the country, funders (both primary and mezzanine), commercial developers, landlords and private individuals. The types of issue they regularly bring to us for resolution include:


+ Building & Construction

Our team is known for delivering practical solutions in contentious matters. In particular we realise that disputes frequently arise within the lifetime of a contract or appointment and need to be managed and resolved within the context of an on-going project and relationship. Results are achieved through firm negotiation based on commercial and realistic advice and, when necessary, through adjudication arbitration and court proceedings.

(For further details of the work the Construction team undertakes, and details of recent cases handled by it, please refer to the dedicated Construction pages.)


+ Contractual

Sometimes circumstances alter between the exchange and completion of contracts for the sale and purchase of land or its development. You may want to get out of the contract or renegotiate the price. Or you may want to hold the other party to the strict terms of the contract. We can advise on the options and the remedies, from avoiding the contract to forcing an unwilling party to complete. We can then implement your chosen option.

We also handle post-completion issues such as profit allocation and overage.


+ Environmental Issues

Increasingly, the incidence of environmental legislation raises issues and concerns for our clients, whether it be water pollution or working around the protections afforded to wildlife.


+ Eviction of Trespassers

If you are a property or land owner, few things are as frustrating as finding that your land or premises have been occupied by trespassers. This is particularly so where you are about to develop it, where you have contracted to sell it, or where you are trying to operate a business from it. We have extensive experience of advising on, and taking the most effective practical and legal steps for, resuming control of such land, often on behalf of developers and major retailers.

The steps may include the issue of urgent specialist legal proceedings, liaison with the police and the local authority and the instruction of bailiffs. We will attend the site ourselves where the situation demands it. Above all, we never lose sight of the urgency which so often exists in these cases.


+ Landlord & Tenant

We advise on the whole range of tenancy disputes: non-payment of rent, breaches of covenants against e.g. subletting or assignment, dilapidations, unreasonable withholding of consents, claims for possession of premises, renewal of commercial leases, enfranchisement, lease variations and so on). Our specialists in this area can provide clear advice on the law and its commercial context. They are able to deploy remedies such as forfeiture and relief from forfeiture on your behalf.


+ Planning

We are used to advising land owners and others in connection with a raft of planning matters, whether they be overage obligations, objecting to, or seeking, planning permission and judicial review of planning decisions.


+ Professional Negligence

You may have been let down by your property professional: we have a proven track record of obtaining recovery from solicitors involved in property transactions, surveyors or valuers, architects and others.


+ Third-Party Rights Over Land

We can advise where someone is asserting rights over somebody else’s land. We can help, for example, where a party is alleging that a landowner’s development plans would infringe a restrictive covenant, or where a party is asserting rights (such as a right of way) over land owned by someone else. We also have great experience of resolving boundary disputes.

We are well versed in the issues that arise where a party believes that land he owns can unlock the value of other land (“ransom strips”).

 

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