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The ‘thorough and professional experts’ at Browne Jacobson LLP are praised for providing ‘personalised services tailored to specific requirements’. The practice acts for a varied client base consisting of a mix of retail sector clients, central and local government agencies, large landlords and healthcare sector clients such as NHS trusts. While Tim Rayner and Pamela Shepherd, both in Birmingham, took over as practice heads from Mark Aldrich, Aldrich remains the key adviser in Nottingham where the addition of associate Louise Read from Buckles Solicitors LLP bolstered the group’s strength in retail sector landlord and tenant work. A recent highlight was assisting the Homes and Communities Agency with the removal of trespassers from a land parcel. Walgreens Boots Alliance, British Gas and House of Fraser are also clients.

Freeths LLP fields a team of ‘experts in their field, able to apply knowledge to issues with a great degree of realism and commerciality’. The group handles a wide-ranging caseload including lease renewals, dilapidation claims, break clause and service charge disputes and easement and covenant matters. ‘Dynamic, ambitious, but approachable’ practice head Paul Tomkins ‘has a calm and considered approach’ and often joins forces with ‘hardworking’ senior associate Edward Pickard who is ‘fearless when it comes to difficult cases’. Pickford and Tomkins acted alongside ‘methodical and industrious’ associate Beth Jenkins for a national supermarket retailer on the grant of a new lease for supermarket premises with break rights as the main point of contention. Other clients include Travis Perkins Group, Co-operative Group and Tarmac.

Geldards LLP predominantly handles landlord and tenant disputes across a broad sector spectrum, with the motor trade, retail and utilities sectors generating an especially large volume of instructions. Mark Hacking is the main contact.

‘A top-class regional firm’, Howes Percival LLP acts for landlords and tenants alike in portfolio management work and lease renewals and exits. Satnam Chayra and director Jane Bloomer both specialise in this area, while practice head Geraint Davies handles a range of property-related contractual disputes including lease disputes and renewals, covenant disputes, dilapidation claims and licence issues. The group’s client roster includes large corporates alongside owner-managed businesses, investment funds, developers and private individuals such as Welcome Break Group, Nampak Plastics Europe and C Brewer & Sons.

Flint Bishop LLP provides ‘an excellent service level with swift response times’ and delivers ‘good commercial and practical advice’ to land owners, developers and commercial landlords. The key contacts are Qamer Ghafoor, who recently became the firm’s chief executive, and Andrew Cochrane, who is now chairman and senior partner. Nick Wells and Lorna Trueman also have experience in property disputes. Wells and Cochrane advised Marston’s on more than 100 different litigation matters, primarily regarding landlord and tenant disputes, including forfeitures, injunctions and 1954 Act renewals. Ultimate Insurance Solutions is another client.

Fraser Brown’s portfolio of expertise includes 1954 Act renewals, especially opposed renewals and court determinations; and landlord and tenant disputes, including dilapidation claims. Practice head Don Peel ‘provides very clear, unambiguous advice’. ‘Diligent and trustworthy’ associate Chris Chan is ‘very approachable’. In addition to assisting a client with a notice to repair, involving two headleases and a sub-letting, the group also undertook a review of the entire national property portfolio of a large charity and advised on multiple break notices in order to rationalise the rented stock of offices as well as on a dilapidations claims.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited offers ‘excellent overall service’ and boasts broad property litigation expertise, ranging from landlord and tenant disputes to developer property disputes, and issues pertaining to planning, and compulsory purchase orders. Practice head Simon Waterfield ‘has a calm and pragmatic approach to matters’ and has carved out a niche in public and private rights of way disputes on top of his strong record in landlord and tenant work. Simon Trees recently represented a claimant business in relation to commercial premises purchased subject to a right of way by easement, involving issues regarding the obstruction and re-opening of a passageway.

Spearing Waite LLP combines ‘great service’ with ‘excellent advice’ and is particularly active for national retail clients, especially in landlord and tenant disputes, but also undertakes work for property developers and investors, house builders, charities and high-net-worth individuals. While Michael Lawrence left the firm, new practice head Rachael McConaghie joined from Sherrards Solicitors LLP and recently led advice for a retail client on a claim against a landlord following the release of asbestos in one of its stores as a consequence of ceiling repair works. Travis Perkins, Dunelm and Glenstone Property are also clients.

The ‘excellent’ Brady Solicitors focuses on disputes in the property management and leasehold sector and acts for a largely national client base that includes new clients Westbury Residential and Savills in addition to long-standing clients BNS, Atlantis Estates and Block Management. Practice head Carmela Inguanta  ‘has great depth of knowledge in property-related matters, which she combines with a pragmatic approach to legal problems, ensuring that the best possible results are obtained’. The specialist property management firm acted for a client in disputes surrounding a high-end residential development in Canary Wharf, involving service charge disputes, difficult covenants and a multitude of overseas leaseholders.

Smith Partnership is noted for its niche expertise in brewery-related litigation, a specialism of practice head Russell Davies who ‘provides great all-around support' and is able to assist with a broad gamut of property disputes, including boundary disputes, possession proceedings, rights of way issues and lease terminations. Bally Atwal’s recent work includes acting for a commercial landlord in multiple matters regarding a property portfolio consisting of retail units, office space and residential property, involving rent recovery in addition to boundary and repossession issues.

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Legal Developments in East Midlands for Property litigation

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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