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Major changes to Planning ‘use classes’ system

Guy Pattison

In a bid to make it easier to repurpose town centres and high streets across England and Wales, the Government has made major changes to the ‘use classes’ that businesses must operate within for planning purposes.

New regulations came into force on 1st September 2020 which significantly amended the 1987 Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order. A number of classes have been abolished and moved into a more generic Class E.

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Big reforms announced for leasehold property laws

Claire Morris

In January 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government unveiled sweeping changes that they plan to implement to the home ownership rules that, according to their press release will be part of “the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years, fundamentally making home ownership fairer and more secure”.

Freehold or leasehold – what’s the difference?

Owners of flats and houses in England and Wales can either own the freehold which means they own the property and land it occupies or the leasehold which means they own the property and have a legal right to occupy the land but the land is owned by a third party. These reforms are aimed at leasehold property.

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Six Promotions at Bermans

Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Bermans, commercial law firm in Liverpool and Manchester, is delighted to announce that it has promoted 6 individuals to more senior roles at the firm.

Andrew Henderson (left) joined Bermans in 1985 and has developed an expertise in asset finance litigation.  He has been made a Partner and joins Alex Chapman, David Gledhill and Jonathan Berkson as partners in the specialist Asset Based Lending team that is ranked in the Legal 500 London Asset Finance Lending rankings.

He deals with matters such as fraud, freezing orders, title claims, delivery up claims, guarantee/indemnity claims, shortfalls and general debt recovery for a wide range of asset based lenders.

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Practical advice for Landlords and Tenants of commercial property

Guy Pattison

Guy Pattison

COVID 19 has left our city centres empty with office workers working from home and staying out of the office, shoppers shopping online with shops closed, restaurants and cafes closed or providing collection only services. As businesses have suffered a dramatic drop in revenue they have looked to reduce overheads in the short term to aid their survival.

One of the big overheads that they have been able to postpone is rent on commercial properties with emergency COVID 19 legislation ensuring that tenants cannot be evicted/leases forfeited for rent arrears.

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Universities forced to address the issue of fire safety full on

stephen-chalcraft

Stephen Chalcraft

Following the Grenfell tragedy and the recent student accommodation fire in Bolton, the pressure is on for Universities to ensure that their whole estate is “fully fire safe”.

This doesn’t just require an extensive review of University owned and managed premises, but also a review of accommodation, teaching space and research facilities owned or operated by private providers and partners.  

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Protect your home from the fraudsters

andrew-koffmanOur lives are moving more online and sadly this has resulted in a rise in financial scams. A recent poll of over 2000 individuals by YouGov and Lloyds Bank found 10% of them had been the victim of a financial scam. Property transactions are particularly vulnerable, with high values involved and often time is of the essence. There are numerous cases where solicitors and sellers have been duped into sending the sales proceeds to fraudsters, or buyers have paid the purchase money to someone who was not the real owner.

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Is Forfeiture the Answer?

michael_smeatonLocal high streets, town centres and out of town retail parks are all sporting empty units as retailers continue to find market conditions tough. In the last 12 months we have seen some big names disappear such as House of Fraser, HMV and Better Bathrooms and we have seen other retailers reduce their portfolio by closing stores such as Marks and Spencer and John Lewis.

Commercial landlords will normally have an early warning when businesses are struggling as they will often default on rental payments. Depending on the terms of the lease, landlords may have the right to forfeit the lease for non-payment, bringing the lease to an end and giving the landlord an opportunity to re-let the property. But in these tough times is that the landlord’s best option?

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Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Changes Proposed for non-UK Residents

fergal_o_cleirighOn the 6 May 2019, a 12 week consultation by the Government on proposed changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rates for non-UK residents will come to an end.

This is the Government’s latest scheme to assist people to get on the property ladder. Their main focus is on building more homes but, as this takes time, they are looking at solutions that will have a more immediate effect.

The changes were initially proposed by Theresa May back in Autumn 2018, citing evidence that the purchase of property in England and Northern Ireland by non-UK residents was pushing up house prices for UK residents. At that stage the Government mooted introducing an additional surcharge on properties bought by non-UK residents of either 1% or 3%.

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