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Expert views

  1. How chancel repair liability continues to affect landowners
    17 Oct, 2017
    How chancel repair liability continues to affect landowners
    Despite changes in 2013, an ancient law is still able to present landowners with a large unexpected bill. BrookStreet Des Roches partner Rebecca Thomas explains.  CHANCEL REPAIR LIABILITY – IS IT STILL AN ISSUE? Chancel repair liability has the potential to leave property owners with a large bill to pay towards the upkeep of their local church. In October 2013, the law relating to chancel repair changed so that chancel repair liability stopped being an overriding interest – but what does this
  2. Permitted development: Positive or Negative?
    16 Oct, 2017
    Permitted development: Positive or Negative?
    Charles Royle, assistant portfolio manager for AEW UK, argues that Bracknell has done well from Permitted Development rights and questions the use of an Article 4 Direction. The introduction of permitted development rights for change of use from offices (B1a) to residential use (C3) in 2013 has been a huge benefit for the Thames Valley (TV) office market. Councils, landlords and occupiers have all gained from permitted development in different ways. * Councils have, according to DCLG, seen an
  3. A Thames Valley snapshot with Andy Jansons
    27 Jul, 2017
    A Thames Valley snapshot with Andy Jansons
    While the image of the Thames Valley’s office market is one of resilience, the differences between its main towns will influence the way occupiers and investors make decisions. Andy Jansons, managing director of Jansons Property, gives a snapshot of the main centres. Reading Reading’s rallying cry in recent years has been its relative value compared to London. But quoting rents in some of the prime new town centre office locations are almost reaching £40 per sq ft which, in my view, leaves too
  4. Easements and accessing additional land
    15 Jun, 2017
    Easements and accessing additional land
    Martin Billings, partner in the Real Estate department at BrookStreet des Roches, explains how what you might consider a simple right of way, can become a complex one.  In the recent Court of Appeal decision in Gore v Naheed, the court considered the extent to which a right of way in favour of one property could be used to gain access to another property. Whilst on the facts of this case it was found that a driveway could be used to access to an adjacent parking area, it is important to
  5. Affordable homes policy 'could threaten smaller schemes'
    19 Apr, 2017
    Affordable homes policy 'could threaten smaller schemes'
    Developer John Fisher says the requirement for affordable homes on small developments could threaten the viability - and therefore deliverability - of those schemes. Mr Fisher, managing director of Thames Valley housebuilder T A Fisher, says small developers seeking to maintain a high threshold of quality could find it difficult to incorporate both affordable houses and developer infrastructure contributions on smaller projects. Government changes to national planning policy have sought to
  6. Business rates during development
    06 Apr, 2017
    Business rates during development
    Rebecca Thomas, Partner - Professional Support at law firm BrookStreet des Roches, explains recent clarification on whether  business rates are due while a building is under refurbishment. The question of whether business rates are payable while a property is being redeveloped has been determined by the Supreme Court in a decision which will be welcomed by owners and developers. Overturning the Court of Appeal decision in Newbigin (Valuation Officer) v SJ & J Monk, it was held that where a
  7. Unintended side effects of a rent concession
    29 Mar, 2017
    Unintended side effects of a rent concession
    Following a recent judgement, a rent concession on a property could now be in very different legal territory. Martin Billings and Rosie Gibb, partners in the Real Estate department at BrookStreet des Roches, explain the full implications.  It is not unusual for a rent concession to be documented in a side letter, keeping the arrangement both confidential and personal to the tenant. It is also common for a side letter to contain provisions which allow the arrangement to be terminated if the
  8. Arrival of new rate bills heralds start of 2017 revaluation on April 1
    08 Mar, 2017
    Arrival of new rate bills heralds start of 2017 revaluation on April 1
    Vail Williams partner Stephen Hill explains some of the effects so far of the controversial rates revaluation.   The Valuation Office Agency has now finalised its revaluation of rateable values. The resultant changes in rate liability will come into force on April 1, 2017 and the new assessments will be used to calculate rate charges for at least the next five years. The arrival of rate demands over the next few days showing these new assessments will be in a number of instances a surprise
  9. Property law and the gig economy: the Airbnb Warning
    28 Feb, 2017
    Property law and the gig economy: the Airbnb Warning
    Abigail Gisbourne, solicitor in the real estate department at BrookStreet des Roches, looks at the implications for both landlords and  leasehold tenants after a key ruling over letting out property through the likes of Airbnb.     The case of Iveta Nemcova v Fairfield Rents Limited has served as a warning to residential property owners who are part of the Airbnb generation. The case involved a residential leaseholder of a property in a block of flats where the lease contained a covenant “not
  10. Business rates change for occupants of multiple floors
    16 Nov, 2016
    Business rates change for occupants of multiple floors
    Rebecca Thomas, Partner - Professional Support at law firm BrookStreet Des Roches, explains a significant change in the way Business Rates are calculated for occupiers who use more than one floor. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) recently announced a change to the way in which commercial property will be valued for business rates purposes where a business is in occupation of two or more separate spaces within a building. This change is likely to result in a business rates increase for affected
  11. The gathering storm for businesses with property
    11 Nov, 2016
    The gathering storm for businesses with property
    Stephen Hill, partner at Vail Williams and member of its business rates team, based at the Thames Valley office, explains what businesses face when their new bills arrive next year. The financial impact of the 2017 rating revaluation will be felt by many businesses located in Reading when the new rate bills land next March. 'Larger' occupiers (properties with 2017 List assessments over a rateable value of £100,000)  will see an immediate surge in their rate liabilities, potentially more than
  12. Value added - for some
    11 Oct, 2016
    Value added - for some
    Fiona Brownfoot, retail partner at Hicks Baker, has unveiled some of the wide variations among the winners and losers in the latest rating valuations.  One Berkshire business will see a 43.2 per cent reduction while another will have a 36.8 increase. Friday 30th September 2016 saw the introduction of The Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) draft valuation list for the assessment of business rates on commercial property in England and Wales. These rating valuations will come into effect from 1st