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Expert Witness : Building and Property

Court case highlights spec change dangers

A recent Northern Ireland High Court case has highlighted challenges that can be faced when a specification is changed.

The court heard how new-build apartments in Newtonards, Northern Ireland, had been specified with a BBA-approved full tanking solution with an insurance-backed warranty. However, a quantity surveying error costed less than a quarter of the required product, leading to a specification switch to a cheaper, partially tanked solution.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2018 11:06


Leading property lawyer comments on Dreamvar ruling

The Court of Appeal has announced a ruling regarding the Dreamvar case which will make conveyancers accountable for their client's actions.

Ian Peach, Partner and Head of Residential Property at Coffin Mew, commented:

“In my view, this decision will not just affect Residential Property but the profession in general and I expect impact upon firm’s Professional Indemnity Insurance premiums moving forward.

“It highlights the need for seller’s solicitors to not just correctly verify the identity of the seller, but to also do their upmost to actually link that person to the property being sold.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 10:37


Changes in housing law on the way in wake of Grenfell tragedy

A legal review of the current housing law, carried out following the Grenfell Tower tragedy which killed 71 people last June, has called for sweeping changes to improve safety standards and protect tenants.

The report urges a cultural change so that those responsible for the health and safety of occupiers become proactive in fulfilling those responsibilities, says Liz Brady (pictured), a property specialist at Kent law firm Furley Page.

Liz says Closing The Gaps: Health and Safety at Home, a report commissioned by housing charity Shelter, could help to shape future legislation alongside other high-profile investigations, such as the ongoing official Public Enquiry headed by Sir Martin Moore-Bick. Dame Judith Hackitt has also recently published her preliminary findings on building regulations and fire safety.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 January 2018 15:46


Conveyancers in firing line over ground rents

In recent weeks there has been a deal of press and public indignation over ground rents that can double or more overnight. It is an issue that may be harbouring an avalanche of negligence claims against solicitors, according to Joshua Munro, a barrister at Hailsham Chambers.

He writes: “Purchasers of long-leasehold interests in property may regard themselves as the ‘owners’ of the property. However, many thousands have discovered that they are subject to covenants in favour of freeholders.

“When the true position is found out as to increasing ground rent liabilities, it is very likely that the long-leasehold owners will want to make claims. The problems are often remediable, via leasehold enfranchaisement and acquisition of a share of freehold, or an extension of the long lease’s term with reduction of ground rent to a peppercorn.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 September 2017 08:16


Rights of way and restrictive convenants two of the top issues for developers

Developers have been warned of the importance of ascertaining the details of rights of way and covenants before purchasing land for redevelopment.

Speaking at the “Real Estate Development – Buyer Beware” conference in Bristol last week, Ann Ebberson, partner at solicitors Rosling King, said that it was crucial that developers compare the land against the title and title plan, as some vital details are easy to miss.

Ebberson said: “I have seen a number of sites where the title plan boundary actually falls short of what is on the ground. In one of our most recent cases, the land owner very deliberately retained a strip of land at the front of the title, thus creating a rather nice ransom strip”

Rights of way

The most important things to consider, in terms of rights of way, are:

Last Updated on Monday, 03 July 2017 09:49