Shortly after instructing a solicitor on the purchase of a property (whether commercial or residential) or even the taking of a lease as a tenant (whether a new lease or the assignment of an existing lease) you will usually have to part with what may seem like a goodly amount of money “on account of searches”. The purpose of these and the importance placed on them may seem mysterious. The objective of this article is to explain in more detail the reasons behind one of the most important searches – the Local Search. [Read more…]
Beginning on 14th August 2017, HM Land Registry declared its intent to trial a stricter regime for rejecting applications for first registrations of both freehold and leasehold properties.
It is common knowledge that the Registry has suffered from a heavy caseload in respect of applications for both first registrations and transfers of part over the last few years, with these transactions often taking upwards of 16 weeks to complete. The Registry believes that part of the reason for these delays is an excessive amount of applications with basic errors, which so far have been dealt with by way of requisitions (questions intended to clarify the position). [Read more…]
What is security of tenure?
Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (LTA 1954) affords business tenants security of tenure i.e. the right to a new tenancy on expiry of the current tenancy on like for like terms, save for a change in the market rent, if appropriate. This Act was introduced to protect tenants who may have built up goodwill where to relocate could have a detrimental effect on that business.
If a tenant has security of tenure, there are only limited circumstances where a renewal lease can be successfully opposed by a landlord. These limited grounds for opposition are set out in section 30 (1) of the LTA 1954. Under section 30 (1), there are fault grounds i.e. grounds were the tenant is at fault (for example, if it persistently pays rent late) and there are no-fault grounds, such as grounds where the tenant is not at fault (for example where the landlord wants to redevelop the property and / or resume occupation itself). [Read more…]
Properties are sometimes sold subject to overage clauses – also known as uplift or claw back provisions. The idea is that, if planning permission is subsequently obtained, the seller will be entitled to a share in the uplift in value. This sounds simple but provisions of this nature give rise to a wide range of legal problems and are often a dispute in the making.
As always, the devil is in the detail. Points to watch out for as a buyer are:-
1. How long do these provisions apply? They are commonly imposed for up to 25 years but this is a very long time. Arguably they should only apply where there is a realistic chance of obtaining planning permission within the next 5-10 years.
2. What percentage state in the uplift in value should the seller be entitled to? The seller often begins by asking for 50% of the uplift in value but this is likely to leave the buyer with little commercial incentive to develop the land. Bear in mind that the buyer will incur various costs – planning costs in obtaining the permission, costs in selling the land and capital gains tax, for example. Some overage clauses allow costs to be deducted before the overage is calculated; otherwise a 50% overage may leave the seller with a greater profit than the buyer. [Read more…]
It is well known that land with planning permission for development can achieve a far higher price than farmland. At the time of writing, agricultural land in England is being sold for approximately £10,000 per acre, whereas land with planning permission for development could be worth more than £2,000,000 per acre in some areas. However before development can actually begin, vacant possession of the land in question must be achieved. Whether you are a landowner wishing to diversify, or you have perhaps inherited or are interested in buying or selling agricultural land, it is important to understand the different types of agricultural tenancies and the ways they may be bought to an end. Here at BHW Solicitors our team of experienced agricultural law solicitors are able to guide you through what can be a confusing and complex area of law.
July is Scams Awareness Month in the UK, and property fraud is top on the agenda.
Property fraud can take numerous guises, for example when:
- someone tries to sell your property;
- someone tries to transfer your property into their own name; or
- you are due to purchase or sell a property, the funds can be intercepted or someone asks you to transfer the funds to them instead of your conveyancer.
Those most at risk of property fraud are where their property is:
- tenanted (the tenant may pose as the owner of the property);
- mortgage free (as this would be easier to transfer into a different name); and
- the subject of a family dispute.
To protect you and your property from this risk, you should:
- ensure your property is correctly registered at HM Land Registry, and registered with up-to date details;
- sign up to property email alerts with HM Land Registry so you will know if someone applies to change your registered title;
- enter a ‘fraud prevention restriction’ on the property’s registered title. This restriction will stop anyone from selling or mortgaging your property unless a conveyancer certifies the application was made by you;
- choose your conveyancer or solicitor carefully when you are buying or selling your property; and
- always confirm your bank details by telephone with the conveyancer acting, and likewise confirm their bank details over the telephone if you’re in the process of buying or selling a property.
You are selling your property and your solicitor advises you that an indemnity insurance policy is required. So, what are indemnity insurance policies? What do they cost? What do they cover? And, whose responsibility is it to put a policy in place?
What are indemnity insurance policies?
Indemnity insurance policies are commonly used in property transactions to provide protection in situations where the legal position is either unclear or not fully acceptable to a purchaser or mortgage lender.
Indemnity policies can be a quick way of resolving legal issues to everyone’s satisfaction, so are frequently used to speed up the conveyancing process. Depending on the defect, insurance quotes are usually given within a day or so and the policies can be taken out quickly.
The policy, depending on the wording, may cover future owners of the property and their mortgage lenders, although the precise wording of the policy should be checked.
Before answering this, we should look at what exactly is an easement? In short, an easement is the right of one landowner to make use of another nearby piece of land for the benefit of his own land. The characteristics of an easement are:
- There must a dominant land which enjoys the benefit of the easement;
- There must be a servient land over which the easement is exercised;
- The right being granted must accommodate the dominant land; and
- The right must be capable of forming the subject matter of a grant.
Firstly, you need to find out if the abandoned car is taxed. It is no longer a requirement to physically display a tax disc on the car, but this can still easily be done by entering the registration number into the DVLA’s website. This will then confirm whether or not the car is taxed.
If the vehicle is not taxed there is a facility to advise the DVLA online. The local authority should also then be contacted as they will usually arrange for the vehicle to be towed away – problem solved. [Read more…]
Introduction to Renewable Energy
The idea of renewable energy sources and the choices between the different types can be a daunting prospect for people looking at investing in this area, particularly in line with the potential risks of withdrawn funding and lack of government support. There are many considerations to take into account for landowners, particularly those that also own businesses, who are thinking about moving to a renewable energy source, or selling their land for development to a renewable energy supplier. Here, BHW’s Renewables Department looks at some of the more common renewable energy sources and examines their relative strengths and weaknesses. [Read more…]