Unfortunately disputes between landlords, tenants, managing agents or neighbours can sometimes arise. When they do they can easily escalate leading to potentially expensive and time consuming litigation. At LBB we have a number of Chartered Surveyors who have considerable experience and expertise in dealing with property related disputes.
John Byers and Justin Bennett deal with a wide variety of property disputes. They regularly provide expert opinion and representation at the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (formerly LVT), Upper Tribunal and in Court.
Typical issues include:
- Lease extensions and enfranchisement
- Service Charges
- Professional negligence
- Major Works
We provide expert evidence at FTT and Court in respect of valuations and, in some cases, interpretation of the law. We provide expert advice on all market valuations.
Justin Bennett has acted on a number of reported cases including:
Willingale v Globalgrange Ltd  2EGLR 55 was one of the very first cases under the 1993 Act. In this leading case a landlord was forced to accept the premium offered subject to the terms proposed for failure to serve a valid counter-notice.
Glen International v Triplerose Ltd (CA)  2 EGLR 81 related to proper service of a Section 42 Notice for a lease extension. The judgement was in the tenant’s favour that proper service should be at the last known address under Section 47 and Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
In both cases Justin and his clients were assisted by Anthony Radevsky of Falcon Chambers, the author of Hague on Leasehold Enfranchisement and listed in the Legal 500 2014.
Justin also appeared before HHJ Marshall QC in Anstruther v Vidas (2010), a case involving multiple valuation issues, including the inter-relationship of dilapidations and enfranchisement claims on a substantial mixed use building in South Kensington.
Service Charge and Other Disputes
Service charge disputes arise in both residential and commercial properties.
Issues often arise between the landlord and tenants regarding works carried out to buildings. Issues that arise typically include:
- Are improvements being charged as repairs?
- Is the quality of repair and maintenance work appropriate?
- Are the service charges reasonable?
- Has the cost of work increased due to the Landlord’s failure or delay in carrying out repair work?
Careful interpretation of the lease is required to determine what can be recovered through a service charge. We provide expert advice as to what is required and can provide advice on its reasonableness.
Under the terms of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a series of statutory notices and consultation procedures require to be followed by a landlord before carrying out major works to a property.
This can include both expensive works to the building or long term maintenance or service contracts.
This area of the Act (often simply known as Section 20) has propagated a number of high profile disputes over recent years particularly following the more stringent measures introduced by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.
This is probably the most common sort of dispute arising regarding residential properties. It is vital to obtain high quality professional advice as to the reasonable cost of repair and maintenance work carried out. We regularly assist and advise clients on aspects of these procedures.
John Byers has acted in a number of published cases including:
- Spink & Others v Westbourne Ltd LON/00AJ/LSC/2006/0055
- Westbourne Ltd v Spink & Joshua LRX/14/2007
- Rolyn Investments v Residents of Wesley Court LON/00BK/LSC/2008/0313
- Rolyn Investments Limited v The Lessees of Wesley Court LON/00BK/LDC/2010/0027
- Mr & Mrs Nogueria & Others v The Lord Mayor & Citizens of the City of Westminster  LON/00BK/LSC/2012/0095
- Mr & Mrs Nogueira & Others v The Lord Mayor & Citizens of the City of Westminster  UKUT LRX/126/2013
We are able to assist as either joint or sole expert in professional negligence claims. We have been involved in a number of recent high profile valuation cases, including: joint expert in divorce proceedings involving a high value marital home, sole expert on the interpretation of a restrictive covenant affecting a 10,000sqft development property, the right (or not) to use a balcony and whether planning was granted, and a complex enfranchisement matter with close to a 1000 valuation permutations.
At the end of a lease disputes can arise regarding the condition of the property and the liability of an outgoing tenant to carry out repairs, redecoration or reinstatement works.
We are able to advise either landlords or tenants. This is a highly complex area of Landlord and Tenant law and is the subject of a vast amount of case law.
Disputes often turn on the wording of the lease and can be influenced by the original intentions of the parties.
John Byers has dealt with a considerable number of dilapidation cases and is experienced in this specialist area of work. His expert advice is both investigative and practical.
John Byers cases include the widely reported case of Ravensgate Estates Ltd v Horizon Housing Group Ltd .
Other clients include Majestic Wine plc, RL Polk, One Housing Group and many residential and commercial landlords and tenants.