Corporate & Commercial

Ferbrache & Farrell LLP’s corporate department offers full service corporate, banking and commercial cover and is able to advise on all aspects of Guernsey corporate and commercial law, including banking and finance, regulatory, investment funds, asset management and listings on The International Stock Exchange (TISE).

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21 February 2024
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Many leases and tenancies contain provisions that restrict activity at, or use of, the property. Typically, use clauses may restrict what is permitted, such as…
Dispute Resolution

The dispute resolution department at Ferbrache & Farrell LLP has vast experience of local and international litigation and dispute resolution generally, gained from acting in complex local and international high-value disputes, both in Guernsey and throughout the world.

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21 February 2024
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Many leases and tenancies contain provisions that restrict activity at, or use of, the property. Typically, use clauses may restrict what is permitted, such as…
Property

The Guernsey property department is dedicated to providing tailored solutions that meet and exceed clients’ expectations. In addition, the property department provides support to colleagues in the corporate and dispute resolution departments on real estate-related technical points of law.

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21 February 2024
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Many leases and tenancies contain provisions that restrict activity at, or use of, the property. Typically, use clauses may restrict what is permitted, such as…
UK Real Estate

We are delighted to help in relation to providing legal advice for real estate in England and Wales. We listen. We learn what your needs are. We proactively respond. Whether it’s personal or commercial property, we always provide sound and pragmatic advice, adding value to the transaction.

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21 February 2024
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Many leases and tenancies contain provisions that restrict activity at, or use of, the property. Typically, use clauses may restrict what is permitted, such as…
Private Client

Our services for private client matters include the drafting of realty and personalty wills, obtaining Grants of Probate, acting as professional executors and assisting foreign lawyers who have requirements in this jurisdiction.

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21 February 2024
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Many leases and tenancies contain provisions that restrict activity at, or use of, the property. Typically, use clauses may restrict what is permitted, such as…

Property in England and Wales: Renting with pets

Many leases and tenancies contain provisions that restrict activity at, or use of, the property.

Typically, use clauses may restrict what is permitted, such as using the property for a domestic or private dwelling only and not for any trade or business, or immoral, or illegal purposes.

There are often restrictions such as not creating any nuisance or annoyance to the landlord, and any owners and occupiers of any neighbouring properties.

Such restrictions would typically include provisions prohibiting leaseholders and tenants from causing noise or disturbances which might include antisocial behaviour, or playing instruments, or music devices, so that the same are audible to others on the outside of the property, particularly during night/ unsociable hours.

When keeping pets, renters may face similar restrictions.

In fact, many pet owners across the UK struggle to find accommodation that will accept their pet in the private rented sector. For renters, pet ownership may be banned completely due to provisions in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement, for example. For leaseholders, pets may also be banned by general nuisance clauses in long leases. There may also be restrictions on what types of pets may be kept and the consent of the property owner may be required before a pet can be kept at a property.

Prospective renters and leaseholders must also understand how a ‘pet’ is defined. Factors such as size and breed may influence an owner’s decision whether a domestic animal may be kept or not. Where there is a medical justification for a pet, such as guide dogs or emotional support animals, individuals may be given special allowance by property owners for these animals to be kept at the property.

When buying a leasehold property or renting a property, it is important to carefully check the terms and provisions of the lease or the tenancy agreement to determine whether a pet can be kept or not. Particularly, in case of animal lovers, this is likely to affect their enjoyment of the property.

When a property is to be used as an investment, a full ban on keeping pets is likely to limit the number of prospective tenants (particularly if they are dog or cat owners).

It is worth pointing out that there may be legal recourse where pets are banned, such as through the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if the terms are considered ‘unfair’.  However, this only applies to rental properties (rather than long leaseholds) and may be a costly and time consuming route to pursue.

Also, the controversial Renters (Reform) Bill, introduced to Parliament on 17 May 2023, contains measures to amend the Housing Act 1988 to make it an implied term of an assured tenancy (with some exceptions) that a tenant may keep a pet with the landlord’s consent unless the landlord reasonably refuses. This is expected to become law imminently this year.

Furthermore, landlords in England cannot request a higher tenancy deposit as a security for renting with a pet. As deposits are capped in England since the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act in 2019, landlords might instead elect to charge an extra rent for having a pet.

‘No pets allowed’ is often not set in stone and an open discussion with the landlord or the letting agent would often prove to be the best course of action.

For more information please see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/renting-with-pets-renters-reform-bill

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, please contact our designated UKRE team Anna Douglass, Alastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour, Naledi Odiseng and Fiona Jeffries, who will be delighted to assist.

HM Land Registry publishes its monthly transaction data monthly, and the generic release of information for December 2023 (published January 2024) was very informative.

We learn that the South East of England had the greatest number of regional applications (some 300,944 in one month), followed next by Greater London (some 252,332 in one month).

Predictably, activity levels were down in December 2023 as compared to the previous two months, which is not entirely surprising given seasonal celebrations and holidays.

From a local authority perspective, the greatest number of December applications were made by the Birmingham local authority, with the second highest originating from the City of Westminster.

By some considerable margin of activity, the greatest number of HM Land Registry applications were made by InfoTrack Limited. We at Ferbrache & Farrell are pleased to partner with InfoTrack UK to ensure the best service to our clients.

Although we do not profess to be predictors of longer-term market movements, we do nevertheless anticipate an increase in HM Land Registry application activity in January 2024. This may be attributed to the headwinds of economic change now easing back a little, and a number of pieces of positive industry news making the headlines.

We very much look forward to providing updates accordingly.

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, please contact our designated UKRE team Anna Douglass, Alastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour, Naledi Odiseng and Fiona Jeffries who will be delighted to assist.

Changes will be made to UK company law on 4 March 2024.

Aimed at giving Companies House greater powers to to query information and undertake stronger checks on company names, the changes are as follows:

  • new rules for registered office addresses i.e. no more PO BOX addresses, and third-party agent’s addresses are still permitted upon meeting certain prescribed criteria. Companies that do not have an appropriate registered office address could be struck off the register;

 

  • a requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address – this email address will not be published on the public register. Existing companies will need to give a registered email address when they file their next confirmation statement with a statement date from 5 March 2024. Companies will have a duty to maintain an appropriate registered email address, in the same way as their registered office address. Any company that fails do this will be committing an offence;

 

  • new lawful purpose statements – when a new company is incorporated from 4 March 2024, the subscribers (shareholders) will need to confirm that they will be forming the company for a lawful purpose. They will also need to confirm that the company’s intended future activities are lawful on the prescribed confirmation statement. The intention of these new statements is to make it clear that all companies on the register, new and existing, have a duty to operate in a lawful way.

For more information, read the Companies House blogs, here and also here.

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, please contact our designated UKRE team Anna Douglass, Alastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour, Naledi Odiseng and Fiona Jeffries who will be delighted to assist.

For many years now, HM Land Registry has been working hard to drive efficiencies.

This has taken many forms, such as the centralisation of certain administrative functions to particular HM Land Registry offices, and more particularly the embracing of technology such as the ability to make digital applications.

In an HM Land Registry publication this week, we have learned how much progress has been made, and which is significant. This has included assessing opportunities for digital signatures, automated case flows, anti-fraud technology, a public-friendly digital platform and the development of the existing Business Gateway channel.

We can be certain that as technology becomes even more pervasive in our day-to-day lives, that the benefits it brings will be capable of transposition into the HM Land Registry services.  We learn this week that HM Land Registry is increasing its investment in digital services, and with the use of terminology such as, ‘security’, ‘frictionless’ and ‘resilience’ we can be sure of rapid advances towards the full digitalisation of the service.

We at Ferbrache & Farrell LLP are fully committed to the early adoption of digital services and are watching today’s developments with great interest.

For more details please click here.

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, please contact our designated UKRE team comprising Anna Douglass, Alastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour, Naledi Odiseng and Fiona Jeffries who will be delighted to assist.

Today has been a busy day for property related news.  Not only do we have new information about house prices, but we also have positive indications about inflation.  The latter will come as a relief to many of us, as we have learned that the inflation rate is the lowest it has been for the last two years.

House Prices

HM Land Registry has today published the UK House Price Index for October 2023.

The October data shows on average, UK house prices have fallen 0.7% since September 2023. There has been an annual price fall of 1.2% which makes the average property in the UK valued at £288,000.

In England, the October data shows, on average, house prices have fallen by 0.8% since September 2023. The annual price fall of 1.4% takes the average property value in England to £306,000.

London saw the lowest annual price growth, with a fall of 3.6%.

For more details please click here

Inflation

The Office for National Statistics has confirmed today that inflation for the year to date has fallen to 3.9%, due in part to the reduction in average fuel prices, a commodity which so many of us rely on heavily.

Although the Bank of England target inflation rate is 2%, there are still many reasons to take encouragement from the news, and as a cause for some celebration.  From our property perspective, it is hoped that lenders will now have more confidence to offer lower mortgage rates since one of the metrics which determines mortgage pricing (swap rates) is also falling.  That is certainly a reason to be positive about the new year ahead, and we will be providing regular updates accordingly.

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, please contact our designated UKRE team Anna Douglass, Alastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour, Naledi Odiseng and Fiona Jeffries who will be delighted to assist.

Chancellor Hunt has today revealed plans for the economy, businesses and consumers.

The reaction of property professionals to the Government’s new policy plans was rather underwhelming. In particular, the high hopes for rumoured changes to Stamp Duty and other support measures for the UK housing market did not come to any fruition today.

Other measures affecting both the UK rental market and the wider property industry were:

⇨ The Local Housing Allowance is to be increased next year to the 30th percentile of local market rents to help some 1.6m households currently renting in both the private and social housing sectors;

⇨ As regards planning, they plan a consultation on a change to Permitted Development Rights to allow any house to be converted into two flats, so long as there is no change to the external appearance;

⇨ Households located close to new electricity infrastructure (pylons and sub-stations) are to receive up to £1,000 per year off energy bills;

⇨ From 2024, local authorities are to be able to recover the full cost of large-scale planning applications in return for a guaranteed date for a planning decision; and

⇨ Business rates 75 per cent relief have been extended until 2025 for retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.

It would appear the Government has decided to wait until the 2024 Spring Budget for the announcement of any radical changes (which of course brings them closer to the next General Election, when more newsworthy statements will be made).

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, please contact our designated UKRE team Anna Douglass, Alastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour, Fiona Jefferies and Naledi Odiseng, who will be delighted to assist.

With a general election looming, and political priorities seemingly changing, it is perhaps no surprise that today sees a further delay to the proposed ban on no-fault evictions.

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has stated in open correspondence that upgrading the Court system must now take priority, including digitising more of the court process, providing early legal advice and prioritisation of certain cases.

At this point then, there is no indication when the no-fault eviction ban will be revisited, but it is fair to say that it is not likely to be for some considerable time.

As the subject has been a manifesto pledge since 2019, and has garnered support from various Prime Ministers, including Rishi Sunak, it will no doubt be upsetting for many.  Although Government has stated it will adopt a phased approach to the proposed ban, competing priorities will determine whether this is possible.

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, contact our designated UKRE team Anna DouglassAlastair HargreavesCaren Vidamour and Naledi Odiseng, who will be delighted to assist.

Today sees the release of the Legal 500 United Kingdom 2024 rankings. This is a very important publication in the legal world as it offers a myriad of useful information for potential clients, intermediaries, and referrers.

We are absolutely delighted that Ferbrache & Farrell LLP has again been recognised in all practice areas and had another great year of rankings, notwithstanding the firm has only been established for some 7 years.

Gavin Farrell is a ‘Hall of Fame’ lawyer, and both Martin Jones and Alastair Hargreaves are described as ‘Leading Lawyers’ in their respective fields of dispute resolution and commercial property.

Congratulations to Robert Breckon and Alison Antill for some superb client testimonials, and also to Stuart Nash who is described as a ‘Rising star’.

In all of these accolades, however, the firm and partners know that it is the sum of all parts, and only due to the concerted team effort throughout the business.

On 1 October 2023 Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 comes into force. It amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 by adding to the existing duties of Responsible Persons. It is the task of the Responsible Person to make sure that the fire safety assessment for a building is done properly.

In particular, it introduces new rules about fire safety to ensure that occupiers in a building receive due and proper fire safety guidance for their building.

This includes:

  • The Responsible Person is the person in charge of fire safety, and they are obliged to keep a detailed record of the fire safety assessment;
  • The Responsible Person must also record who does or checks the fire safety assessment and they also need to be able to demonstrate how fire safety is managed in the building;
  • The Responsible Person is obligated to keep their contact details and information up to date and diligently share it with others who are responsible for fire safety (and if needed, with the people living in the building);
  • If there are other people who are in charge of fire safety matters in the building, the Responsible Person should try to meet them;
  • When the person in charge of fire safety changes, the new appointed person should receive all the important fire safety information;
  • If the building has more than one home in it, the Responsible Person should give to the occupier easy-to-understand information about how to stay safe from fires;
  • There will be bigger fines introduced for certain offences, for example failing to comply with specific requirements imposed by a fire inspector;
  • It is expected that the UK government’s advice on these rules will be much clearer and stronger.

Furthermore, it is anticipated that in the future, there will be a rule that the person hired to do or check the fire safety assessment must be competent and fully qualified.

For further guidance on Fire safety responsibilities under Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 click here.

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England & Wales please feel free to contact our UKRE team: Anna Douglass, Alastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour and Naledi Odiseng, who will be happy to assist.

It is fair to say that the law concerning leasehold property is complex.  It is the subject of much political and legal debate, both in terms of protecting the tenant and in terms of ensuring that leasehold ownership remains an attractive proposition. At its simplest, a leasehold asset is a ‘diminishing’ asset, which means to say that its duration reduces every day.  Whilst for very long leases, such as 999-year terms (typically for mines and minerals), this is not an issue, for shorter residential lease terms, it is extremely important.

Arguably, the closer to zero that the unexpired lease term has, the less its value will be to the tenant.

For example, mortgage lenders will require a minimum length of term for residential leases for mortgages to be available.  Typically, this is somewhere between 60-65 years.

In instances when residential leases are becoming too short, it is possible for a tenant to request that the lease term is lengthened. This is either by private agreement, or by a statutory process.

In the case of the latter, a section 42 notice is served (of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act, 1993) requesting a 90-year extension.  The landlord has a two-month period in which to respond. As one would expect, the timing of the service of such a statutory notice is key, bringing with it the consideration of complex matters such as ‘marriage values’ and ‘collective enfranchisement’ which is beyond the scope of this short note.

A recent problem has arisen where landlords of newly built leasehold properties have introduced an escalating ground rent.  Whilst very advantageous to such landlords, who have an ever-increasing revenue, it can be practically fraught with problems for tenants who not only have to pay more rent, but the asset upon which they are paying rent is reducing in value and increasing in age.  It is well within the realms of logic that at its worst, a leasehold property could effectively be worthless but require a high rent to be paid. To combat this issue, a recent piece of legislation was enacted.

It is called the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act, 2022.  From 30 June 2022, any lease granted after that date cannot contain a ground rent.  If a tenant seeks to extend the lease term, the landlord may grant such an extension (at a price) but may not then ask for a rent as well.  This is very different to the position before the 2022 Act when a landlord could demand a price and an increased rent in exchange for an extended lease term. Failure by the Landlord to comply with the 2022 Act may result in financial penalties, a refund of the ground rent charged, and the lease not being registered at HM Land Registry.

The passing of the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 clearly demonstrates a huge desire from the UK Government to ensure fairness within leaseholds. Future legislation is anticipated to create further reforms in other areas of leasehold ownership, such as ‘marriage value’, enfranchisement, and statutory claims.

As the position is, even today, very fluid in terms of where the concept of ‘leasehold ownership’ will end up, we in the UK Real Estate team at Ferbrache & Farrell are now reopening our position on Commonhold ownership. Whilst this has historically been an unpopular form of title, there are moves afoot once more to make it more attractive. This will form the basis of our future comment.

If you need any further information or legal advice, including conveyancing of a property in England, contact our designated UKRE team Anna DouglassAlastair Hargreaves, Caren Vidamour and Naledi Odiseng who will be delighted to assist.