Real Estate update 2017
10 July 2017
Welcome to our July 2017 Real Estate Update, which brings you the latest news and most interesting developments affecting corporate occupiers, landlords, developers and investors across the industry. We’ve included some topical articles, updates on recent cases and some horizon gazing on the impact of upcoming legislation. We have also included some of our recent press coverage and new and updated client guides
Here are some recent transactions on which we have advised in the last quarter:
- Ignore Japanese knotweed at your peril! - Emily Meredith-Hardy
Japanese knotweed is an invasive non-native species and is problematic because it can cause physical damage to land and buildings, particularly through spreading roots. During the summer months, it can grow up to 10 centimetres a day and roots can extend to a depth of three metres and up to seven metres laterally. The presence of knotweed can have a significant and detrimental effect on the marketability and insurability of property and may also adversely affect value.
- Seller/Landlord beware! You need to take care with replies to preliminary enquiries – Francesca Mack and Tom Merrick
As part of any commercial property transaction a seller/landlord will usually be required to provide to the prospective buyer/tenant replies to a set of pre-contract enquiries (known as “preliminary enquiries”) – typically using the standard form Commercial Property Standard Enquiries (CPSEs).
- Property fraud is on the rise, how are you protecting your assets? – Sarah Mogford
Fraud involves a person dishonestly and deliberately deceiving a victim for personal gain of property or money. Anyone can be a victim of fraud and the increasingly sophisticated methods that fraudsters are using to target property owners should not be ignored.
- Digital Economy Act 2017 - the new Electronic Communications Code - Patrick Brown
The Code was first introduced in 1984. It was then called the Telecommunications Code, and addressed the installation of landline equipment. Revisions in 2003 extended the scope to incorporate digital technology, but problems with the amended Code soon emerged.
- Rates debate - Re-development or disrepair? - Tom Merrick
Business rates have been big news recently following the Government’s controversial revaluation which took effect from 1 April 2017. Against the backdrop of all this negativity, the Supreme Court decision of Newbigin (Valuation Officer) v S J & J Monk  at least provided some positive news for those carrying out developments or refurbishments of property.
- Tenants still can’t assign to their guarantors - Hannah Vosper
There are often very good reasons why a lease would be assigned to a guarantor (e.g. corporate restructuring or the tenant’s insolvency). However, a case in 2016 - EMI Group Ltd v O & H Q1 Ltd - decided that such an assignment would be void at law, even if all parties agreed to it.
- Right to Rent immigration checks: increasing pressure on the property rental market
Joanna Hunt has written an article for 24housing which discusses the Government's 'right to rent' checks and their increasing pressure on the rental market.
- Clicks & bricks - keeping digital while going physical
Julia Poulter and Tom Merrick have written an article for Essential Retail as they take a look at the challenges of omnichannel and what e-tailers should think of before turning to physical.
- Patrick Brown comments for UKVMA: More than just a stadium
Patrick Brown has written an article for UK Venue Managers Association (UKVMA). The article reviews trends in stadium commercialisation, local council involvement in development and the rise of fan ownership and influence in the status of stadiums.
- Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 - The Basics
Part II of the 1954 Act is perhaps the most important legislation governing commercial premises. The provisions of Part II of the Act were substantially amended with effect from 1st June 2004 and did away with many of the tactical manoeuvres that were available under the old regime.
- Proposed disclosure rules for non-UK entities owning property or bidding for Government contracts
The UK Government proposes new rules requiring non-UK entities that already own, or intend to acquire, UK real estate, or that wish to bid for UK central Government contracts, to be required to disclose information about the beneficial owners of the entity.