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05 April 2022 Commercial property

As the national housing shortage continues, particularly in rural areas, development land is very much in demand.  You may even have been approached by a developer or promoter who is interested in your land. Property sales are never risk-free, with buyers able to pull out of a deal sometimes for the most incongruous of reasons. Many farmers negotiate a conditional contract to sell their development land which, as Andrew Little, agricultural law specialist at Ware & Kay Solicitors in York & Wetherby explains, provides some certainty for the seller that the land will be bought. A conditional contract is a contract between a landowner and a developer which will only be completed if the condition or conditions stated in the agreement happen. If the conditions are fulfilled, the developer is legally obliged to buy the land…
15 March 2022 Commercial property

Large swathes of beautiful North Yorkshire are made up of ‘common land’, a concept dating back to 1215 which allowed ‘commoners’ the right to take or use something produced naturally on land belonging to someone else. Andrew Little, Commercial Property Law and Agricultural specialist at Pearsons & Ward in Malton (part of Ware & Kay) explains the rights and obligations associated with common land. These ancient rights still exist today, with common land currently accounting for around three percent of England. A right of common can be: pasturage – the right to put livestock out to feed on the land; pannage – the right to put pigs out to feed in wooded areas of the land; estover – the right to take specific timber products from the land, such as firewood; turbary – the right…
28 October 2021 Commercial property

When farmers rent out a spare cottage on their land to one of their farm workers it may seem like a win-win all round: the farmer gets to fill their empty property and have a worker on site, and the farm worker gets somewhere convenient to live. However, as Andrew Little, Commercial Property Solicitor and agricultural law specialist at Pearsons & Ward (Malton office of Ware & Kay Solicitors) explains, farmers should ensure they do not inadvertently grant an assured agricultural occupancy instead of an assured shorthold tenancy in such situations as this would give their tenant more rights than they perhaps intended. Unless farmers take specific steps to ensure the tenancy granted to an agricultural worker is an assured shorthold tenancy, an assured agricultural occupancy regulated by the Housing Act 1988 will automatically arise where…
20 October 2021 Commercial property

In the recent case of London Trocadero (2015) LLP v (1) Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd (2) Gallery Cinemas Limited and (3) Cineworld Cinemas Limited the High Court considered an application for summary judgment by the landlord in respect of outstanding rent arrears. The Claimant, London Trocadero (2015) LLP, was the landlord of two leases of cinema premises at the Trocadero Centre in London of which the First Defendant, Picturehouse Cinemas Limited, was the tenant. The Second Defendant, Gallery Cinemas Limited, was the original tenant under one of the leases and the Third Defendant, Cineworld Cinemas Limited, was the guarantor of sums due under both leases. No rent had been paid under the leases since June 2020 and the arrears together with service charges at the time of the Court hearing was in the region of £2.9…
17 August 2021 Commercial property

As more aspects of business move online, there is a drive to do everything digitally.  The process of buying and selling property has always relied heavily on paper, but there has been huge change over the last decade and more can now be done online.  Commercial property investors want to take advantage of this, but the law on signing electronically is still in transition. Getting a signature wrong could mean a deal is void, so it pays to get legal advice on when an electronic signature will be valid. ‘In an increasingly digital world, business owners are sometimes surprised when they are asked to sign property documents with pen and ink’ says Andrew Little Commercial Property Solicitor with Ware & Kay in York & Wetherby.  ‘This isn’t just lawyers being old-fashioned – there are still rules…
28 July 2021 Commercial property

The Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court’s decision in the case of Capitol Park Leeds plc v Global Radio Services Ltd which considered whether a tenant had given ‘vacant possession’ of a commercial building. The case concerned a three storey commercial unit in Tingley Leeds. By a Lease dated 4 March 2002 the property was let to Real Radio (Yorkshire) Limited for a term of 24 years. In June 2014 the Lease was assigned to Global Radio Services Limited (the tenant). The assignment was part of a corporate acquisition by Global of The Guardian Media Group, which included provisions for the transfer to Global of all properties owned by the Group. This resulted in Global acquiring more properties than it needed, and from the date of the assignment the property was surplus to requirements. The Lease…
08 June 2021 Commercial property

As we emerge from lockdown and things slowly begin to return to normal, many farmers may be considering renting out part of their property, raising much needed cash to counter the devastating economic effects inflicted by the coronavirus and Brexit. Most private properties are rented out on an assured shorthold tenancy basis, but as Andrew Little, commercial property law and agricultural specialist at Ware & Kay Solicitors in York & Wetherby warns, some restrictions on such rentals have been introduced recently which potential landlords should be aware of.  The Tenant Fees Act 2019 Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, landlords and agents are now banned from charging fees to tenants other than those specifically permitted by the Act. A cap is also placed on the amount of security deposit a landlord or agent can collect and…
13 May 2021 Commercial property

The decisions in two cases recently heard by the High Court will be welcomed by landlords of commercial premises.  The cases of Commerz Real Investmentgesellschaft mbH v TFS Stores Limited and Bank of New York Mellon (International) Ltd and v Cine-UK Ltd and others were disputes over non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic and in both the Court decided that the rent arrears were payable despite the impact of closure and restrictions on the businesses. The facts in both cases were similar. In the first case the tenant TFS Stores Limited operates as ‘The Fragrance Shop’ and its landlord claimed £166,884.82. In the second case there were in fact separate claims heard together against Cine-UK Limited, operating a cinema complex, Mecca Bingo Limited and SportsDirect.com Retail Limited. In the TFS case the tenant put forward…
05 November 2020 Commercial property

David Hyams is director of commercial property at Ware & Kay Solicitors, based in the York office. What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber? In the mid to long term, I am positive about the prospects for the property sector as the region has so much to offer.  We are obviously facing challenging times at the moment, particularly in the hospitality sector, but once we have got through to the other side, I am confident that there will be a release of pent-up demand and we shall soon be back on our feet again. What is the best project you have been involved in? In recent times it was acting for a landlord on the grant of a lease of 15,000 sq ft office unit to a large regional accountancy practice. …
29 October 2020 Commercial property

Pubs are closing all too often nowadays and while this is a sad sight, it means there may be opportunities to find a new use for one as a commercial development project.  If an empty pub is well-located, it could make an ideal setting for a new business, such as a care home, convenience store, or flexible workspace.  As well as negotiating, buying and redeveloping the building itself, you will need to get to grips with planning permission and other regulatory requirements for your proposed new business.  You will need contracts with professional advisers, including surveyors and architects, and with building contractors.  Once the building is operational you will need a lease with an operator.  ‘As your commercial property solicitor we will be key in bringing this complex project to fruition, and the sooner we are…
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