Property dispute resolution
We have one of the largest property litigation teams in the UK; we therefore have extensive experience in all areas of property dispute resolution.
Our team assists landlords and tenants with lease renewals, lease breaks, changes of use, rent reviews, service charge issues and repair claims. We also provide specialist advice to landlords and leaseholders of residential properties in relation to the leaseholder’s rights (to acquire the freehold, extend their lease or to manage their property) as well as service charge disputes.
We help developers with construction disputes, development and funding agreements, sale and purchase disputes, overage, clawback, access and utility issues, rights to light and restrictive covenants.
Meanwhile, our lawyers help property owners deal with everything from rights of way, restrictive covenants and boundary disputes to other lesser known problems such as village green applications, compulsory purchase advice, environmental issues and Japanese knotweed.
Clients come to us because we are property people first and litigators second. We understand the pressures our clients face and we always consider the commercial realities.
Because we appreciate that litigation can be both expensive and risky, we always do our utmost to resolve disputes via mediation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation or informal settlement meetings.
However, if a settlement proves elusive, we are robust and assertive litigators who will represent your interests vigorously and professionally.
- Acting for a government department on a conditional lease break with associated dilapidations claim linked to the residential redevelopment of an office building. This has resulted in a complex development agreement with the acquiring developer and freeholder to protect the government department in its occupation of adjoining office premises.
- Acting on a heavily contested break option linked to complex separation works that had to be completed in a specific way in order to exercise the break. There were several break date extensions (resulting in further rental income for the client) before a surrender was agreed on terms that were extremely favourable for the client.
- Dealing with a multi-million pound right of way dispute that threatened the client’s business; we secured a court order in favourable terms which allowed the access to be used as before.
- Acting for a government department in relation to their exit from major office premises in Holborn. This involved a significant lease restructuring exercise following negotiation of preferential terms including payment of a substantial exit premium to our client. The case also involved major issues in relation to dilapidations, alterations and the definition of tenant’s fixtures and chattels. We were able to negotiate a beneficial exit settlement which facilitated a relocation and major refurbishment of other premises.
- Acting in a £7 million terminal dilapidations claim for a well-known property investment company in relation to a large office building in central Basildon, Essex.
- Acting on a dilapidations claims in relation to a large office building in Liverpool. The pre-action protocol on dilapidations was invoked but the landlord took an aggressive line and issued proceedings. The claim totalled £610,000. We prepared the defence and annexed a detailed response to the schedules. Having protected the client’s position, we outmanoeuvred the landlord’s solicitors in subsequent negotiations and secured a favourable settlement of £320,000 inclusive of costs.
- Advising a client in relation to a breach of contract for sale of a large residential block of flats where the buyers failed to complete their purchases and sought to bring counterclaims for mispresentation. The court agreed with us that no misrepresentation had been made and we secured a favourable costs settlement accordingly.
- Representing a water company in connection with a compensation claim following the construction of a water trunk main. This is a complex claim for disturbance as a result of reduced crop production with high profile in the local farming community.
- Acting on a long running historic rights to light claim where the offending development had been in place for over five years. This matter involved some highly technical issues of law. The claim involved a rights to light claim based on the doctrine of modern grant rather than the Prescription Act which is unusual and more complex. Having issued proceedings on behalf of our client, we secured a favourable settlement at mediation before trial saving them substantial costs and providing certainty of outcome.
- Acting for a title indemnity insurer in relation to a rights to light title indemnity policy where the limit of indemnity was £22 million. The policy covered the infringements of rights to light by a proposed development adjacent to a prominent London landmark. All potential claims were settled before proceedings were issued for a sum substantially less of the overall policy indemnity limit.
- Acting for a developer client in relation to a significant and valuable ‘call’ option dispute relating to a key access strip to a development site. The matter involved the enforcement of the option against another housebuilder who owned the adjacent plot.
- Acting for a major developer in relation to a ransom strip claim over a competitor’s development which settled for £500,000 after hard fought negotiations at mediation.
- Enforcement of a number of contracts for the conditional sale of land and property where the buyer claimed that the conditions had not been satisfied.
- Acting for a government department in defending a £14 million terminal dilapidations claim at the expiry of 40 year leases of four large office blocks in Croydon.
- Acting for a government department in successfully defending a claim by the landlord that the break option had not been validly exercised due to a breach of the break conditions. We successfully negotiated a settlement by which the client paid only £40,000 against a potential ongoing liability of £1 million.
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