When it comes to property, things don’t always go according to plan.
As the effects of the pandemic continue to impact the industry, the past six months have seen significant changes for almost all property owners and occupiers. As a result, real estate disputes have been on the rise.
From private individuals to major international organisations, we can assist you in handling all types of property disputes. We understand the complexities of commercial, residential and agricultural property issues from the perspective of both landlords/tenants and owners/occupiers. We aim to be your trusted advisors and offer you a tailored and flexible service to support you in both your legal and business requirements. Our clients include some of the UK’s largest estates, developers, charities and investors.
As one of the largest teams in the UK, we have extensive expertise in the commercial, residential and mixed-use sectors. This gives us an edge in resolving disputes and providing clear and strategic advice to our clients. We have a proven track record of helping clients maximise opportunities and minimise risks.
Property and finance disputes
The property market is facing a period of sustained change. The economic situation is fast-moving, which brings many opportunities but also threats. Financial investments in property might no longer be as attractive. Lenders are having to carefully manage defaults. Borrowers too need to manage their positions to achieve the best result from their debt arrangements.
We are seeing a growth in disputes, particularly professional negligence, emanating out of fractional investing in property assets, for instance in development projects, residential accommodation, hotels and care homes.
Tax developments are also impacting those with interests in property such as hotels, public houses, restaurants and nightclubs etc. Owners of certain trade-related properties are facing the prospect of HMRC clawing back significant sums over the way property was valued for the purposes of intangibles relief and the valuation of goodwill.
Our real estate dispute expertise
We advise on all types of disputes affecting commercial, residential agricultural property including (but not limited to) the following:
- recovery of rent and service charge arrears
- business lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
- termination of leases
- possession of property
- mortgage and security
- property related insolvency
- third party rights over land
- title and neighbour issues
- property related professional negligence
- compulsory purchase matters
- leasehold enfranchisement
- property tax and finance disputes
Our recent property and finance disputes experience
- A number of linked offshore companies had defaulted on their loan repayment obligations, in respect of a loan facility for over £100M. Following a covenant breach, the lender refused to make available part of the loan. This resulted in the lender appointing receivers, who in turn brought proceedings for possession. We were able to conclude beneficial conditional settlement terms with the lender.
- A leading property-based lender needed advice on multiple enforcement strategies. We worked in close collaboration with our Real Estate Finance team to advise the client on the appropriate strategy.
- A group of private individuals, many of them located overseas, lost a considerable sum in a failed property development. This resulted in string of professional negligence claims and property security issues which we swiftly acted upon.
- A high-net-worth private individual lent monies against a property development and the developer later entered into administration. Our client’s position was not properly registered by the initial solicitors, resulting in a loss of their security interest. We successfully represented the client in the professional negligence dispute against the firm of solicitors.
Advisory and dispute resolution
In addition to advisory work, we regularly act in matters before the court or tribunal. However, we recognise that there are benefits to avoiding litigation and that the suitability of methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration or expert determination, should be explored. We aim to provide a holistic service that looks at the 'bigger picture' from the outset, and regularly advise and assist on these matters both at the early stages of a dispute, or when the proceedings are underway.