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Get the Law-down on this Month’s Property Cases

August has been another busy month with the following property cases hitting the headlines:

Francia Properties v Aristou (Landlord’s right to develop)

A County Court recently considered whether a landlord’s right to develop conflicted with a Right to Manage (RTM) company’s responsibilities in respect of a building. In this case, the landlord proposed to build a new flat which he was entitled to do under the lease. The RTM company argued that the landlord’s works would impact its ability to manage the roof. The Court found that provided that the landlord took reasonable steps to minimise any disturbance to the RTM’s management functions during and after the works, the development could go ahead. However, each case must be considered on its own merits, in particular, the extent of the development is important.

Catchpole v HMRC (VAT treatment of buildings forming a single dwelling)

Following the recent Catchpole case, HMRC has published guidance confirming that more than one building can comprise a single dwelling which benefits from zero-rating. This is on the basis that the buildings are designed to function together as a single dwelling, that they are constructed/converted under a single project and under a single planning consent. If the construction of the buildings takes place in stages, the buildings need to be on the same site, the stages need to be completed with no unreasonable delay and none of the buildings can be occupied until the stages are complete. Taxpayers who have constructed/converted a building into a single dwelling may be able to claim for overpaid VAT before 22 August 2020.

Trevallion v Watmore (overriding interests)

An overriding interest is an interest which is not registered at the Land Registry but which still binds a buyer who purchases land subject to that interest. In this case, a property was purchased subject to an unregistered lease over part of the garden. The First Tier Tribunal held that the lease was an overriding interest even though the fenced off area subject to the lease was hidden behind some shrubbery. The case highlights the importance of undertaking proper site visits and careful inspections of the land, especially the boundaries, prior to purchasing.

If you have any queries on the above or any other property matter, please contact our Loughton and Epping Property teams here at Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP, on 01992 578 642.