Property litigation in West Midlands
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP stands out for its impressive client roster of leading banks, institutional landlords, large housebuilders, corporate occupiers and utility companies, and covers all property disputes arising out of developments, real estate management, insolvencies, investment transactions, and landlord and tenant conflicts. The group is increasingly involved in rent review disputes as legal assessor. National head of the real estate dispute resolution group Paul Moorcroft, head of litigation in Birmingham Lisa Barge and David Feist are highly respected litigators who handle a broad range of work in the sector, while principal associates Rob Holloway, who specialises in the retail and real estate investment sectors, and utility sector expert Arren Thornton are also recommended.
Paul Moorcroft; Lisa Barge; David Feist
HSBC Bank Plc
Land Securities Plc
National Grid Plc
Mitchells & Butlers Plc
Severn Trent Plc
Taylor Wimpey Plc
John Lewis and Partners (including Waitrose and Partners)
- Represented Calor Gas in an appeal against the award of the arbitrator on a rent review relating to one of its key trading sites in the UK at Port Clarence.
- Acting for Young and Co Brewery in a rent review dispute regarding a significant London public house.
- Acting for Savills UK as legal assessor in arbitration proceedings regarding several legal issues in a high value rent review dispute in respect of a large site in the Midlands.
Gowling WLG advises housebuilders and public bodies on pre- and post development disputes including those relating to vacant possession. Other areas of expertise include ownership disputes, lease renewals, rent reviews and dilapidation. Carole Peet leads the team and handles a wide range of contentious matters while 'technically very good' principal associate Rob Bridgman focuses on representing housebuilders in their development disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘Technically capable lawyers‘
‘Rob Bridgman is a very good technical lawyer and is also aware of the commercial issues – good to deal with‘
Circle/Clarion Housing Association
- Represented Persimmon Homes in a High Court dispute against Ashfield Provincial Properties in respect of a collaboration agreement between the parties concerning strategic land outside Bristol.
- Advised Taylor Wimpey in relation to a parcel of land where a third party raised various allegations of fraud against the seller.
- Assisting the London Borough of Barnet with obtaining vacant possession of various parcels of land in order to facilitate the development of Brent Cross South.
- Acting for Metropolitan Housing Trust in respect of its vacant possession strategy for part of the Clapham Park Estate.
- Acting for Crossrail in defending a claim for negligent misstatement brought by AG Thames Holding in respect of its purchase of land affected by a possible extension to Crossrail.
Pinsent Masons LLP's diverse client base includes investment funds, local authorities, energy providers, waste operators, universities and housing associations, and the practice is well-regarded for its expertise in the telecoms, energy and waste sectors. The team also provides comprehensive advice on landlord and tenant issues such as break clauses, rent reviews and land ownership, as well as on development, regeneration and transactional disputes. The highly regarded Alicia Foo has broad expertise in all types of property disputes, while the 'outstanding' senior associate Craig Downhill is frequently involved in development and insolvency cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘Alicia Foo is very good‘
‘Craig Downhill is an outstanding lawyer‘
Watford Borough Council
London and Regional Properties Limited
London Boroughs of Brent
Wandsworth & City of Westminster
CBRE Global Investors
Peterson (United Kingdom) Limited
Moreton Morrell Parish Council
- Acting for Arqiva on a broad spectrum of contentious or potentially contentious disputes in England, Wales and Scotland.
- Advising Watford Borough Council on a break clause dispute worth several million pounds against a leading supermarket.
- Acting for London & Regional Properties in relation to contested multimillion-pound rent review arbitrations.
- Acting for leading energy providers on a broad spectrum of complex contentious or potentially contentious disputes of strategically important sites.
- Acting for a pension fund landlord in successfully challenging defective break notices.
The property litigation team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP acts for a combination of commercial developers, corporate occupiers, landowners, investors and universities on a range of real estate disputes. Practice head Martin Edwards assists clients with commercial property management and development disputes, and is increasingly instructed on telecoms leasing matters. James Fownes is another key figure of the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Vision Express (UK) Limited
National Grid plc
Regency Villas Title Limited
Ernst & Young LLP
Blue Arrow plc
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
Marco Island Developments Limited
Urban Student Life Limited
Walsall Housing Group Limited
- Successfully acted for the owners and occupiers of Regency Villas before the Supreme Court, securing their right to continue using sporting and recreation rights on their neighbour’s land free of charge.
- Acting for Walsall Housing Group in its claim against BT concerning preservation of key fibre-optic cable installation to Walsall Town Centre.
- Advising Vision Express (UK) on lease renewals and landlord and tenant disputes across the national portfolio of retail outlets comprising several hundred stores.
- Advising National Grid in connection with management of its property portfolio across the country as a panel firm member.
- Dealing with property management disputes across the university’s estate.
Well-known for its expertise in the retail sector, Shoosmiths LLP also handles disputes relating to corporate acquisitions, disposals, professional negligence and leasing matters for investors, landlords, administrators, trusts and developers. Head of the national team Nick Shepherd specialises in dilapidation, land registration issues and rent review, while Birmingham practice head Kate McCall covers property insolvency and property related health and safety regulation matters. The highly respected Paul Knight acts for property developers, commercial landlords and occupiers and has particular expertise in the automotive sector.
Nick Shepherd; Kate McCall
Other key lawyers:
Boots / Alliance Boots
Brunswick Property Partners / House Owners Investments Limited
Nature Delivered t/a GRAZE Snackfoods
- Represented Brunswick Property Partners / House Owners Investments in a High Court claim to remove a Rent Act protected tenant from a valuable second floor apartment, arising from the disposal of Lion House in Mayfair.
- Appointed to provide cross-portfolio property health and safety advice to Swallow in light of the Grenfell Tower fire.
- Acting on the whole range of property litigation matters for Poundland.
- Supported The Food Retailer Operations and PwC with all property aspects of a proposed CVA and administration of the company, including pursuing an application for injunctive relief following a landlord’s unlawful forfeiture of a key trading site in West London.
- Advising Mercedes-Benz on a wide variety of property matters including rent reviews, dilapidation claims and other property management issues.
During 2018 Browne Jacobson LLP saw the departure of property disputes co-head Tim Rayner, who joined Irwin Mitchell. The team, which is led in Birmingham by the 'really good' Pamela Shepherd, acts for clients in the retail and public sectors on landlord and tenant matters such as lease renewals, break clauses, losses claims and house disrepair. Other clients include insurance companies, trusts and administrators of insolvent companies.
‘Browne Jacobson is an incredibly strong provider of real estate services. They dominate much of the Midlands area and have high quality clients providing high quality work. They give commercially focused advice and have a superb litigation department‘
‘Browne Jacobson has a well respected property team in the Midlands and elsewhere‘
‘The team provides excellent specialised advice on landlord and tenant matters‘
‘Pamela Shepherd leads the Birmingham team well, with good autonomy and oversight in equal measure‘
‘Natalie Moustache is a particularly experienced and dynamic property litigator. From a barrister’s point of view, she is the perfect kind of client – conscientious, extremely well prepared and on top of all the issues. It seems that she gives every case her full attention, no matter how busy she is. Her lay clients can have faith that they are in very safe hands’
‘Bradley Roberts and Christopher Devereux are superb performers. They are conscientious, commercial and people-orientated. They are also thorough – the instructions I receive show the meticulous preparation that goes into each case they manage‘
Walgreen Boots Alliance
Select Service Partner UK Limited
DPDGroup UK Limited
Paperchase Products Limited
Lincolnshire Cooperative Limited
Homes England (formerly Homes and Communities Agency)
London Borough of Croydon
Cheshire East Borough Council
Department for Work and Pensions
YHA (England and Wales) Limited
- Acting for a retailer in dispute with the landlord about subsidence at their warehouse.
- Represented a retailer as tenant in a claim for losses suffered from scaffolding erected by the landlord, causing undue disturbance and interference in contravention of the lease covenants.
- Providing litigation back-up advice for a northern-based borough council on removal of tenants and licences, break clauses and compensation, along with advice on a development agreement.
- Acting for Cornwall Council as defendant in a claim by its tenant for damages flowing from housing disrepair.
- Acting for a large public body in a dispute with the landlord about the service charge and, in particular, the replacement of an air conditioning unit at the landlord’s property.
At Gateley Plc, Birmingham-based chief operating officer Peter Davies focuses on advising housebuilders on all development and remediation-related disputes, such as payment claims, damages claims and contract breaches. In other work, Iain Davies represents corporate occupiers in disputes with their landlords relating to lease renewal, refurbishment works and dilapidations claims. Legal director Philip Scully left to join Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP in November 2018.
Peter Davies; Iain Davies
‘A good team‘
‘Peter Davies is an excellent all round lawyer‘
Bovis Homes Limited
Bellway Homes Limited
Santander UK Plc
Peabody Housing Association
- Advising a national housebuilder in a dispute relating to a collaboration agreement.
- Advising a longstanding client in connection with a dilapidations claim relating to industrial premises.
- Acting for a housebuilder in a dispute regarding a collateral warranty in respect of site remediation works.
- Representing a housebuilder in a dispute regarding a conditional contract for the purchase of a development site.
- Advising a registered charity and provider of social housing in a dispute with a developer concerning a development site in central London.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP has outstanding capabilities in social housing work, representing housing associations and housing developers in antisocial behaviour litigation, possession claims, disrepair claims and development disputes, under the leadership of housing litigation co-heads Helen Tucker and Baljit Basra. The team also acts for local authorities on lease renewals and rent review disputes, led by commercial property disputes specialist Hilary Harrison. Senior associate Philip Scully joined from Gateley Plc in November 2018.
Baljit Basra; Hilary Harrison; Helen Tucker
Other key lawyers:
‘Litigator Baljit Basra is very knowledgeable – she knows what she’s doing‘
Birmingham City Council
Coventry City Council
Curo Places Limited
Two Rivers Housing
Tendring District Council
Clarion Housing Association
W M Housing Group
Luminus Group, now part of Places For People Group
- Advising Coventry City Council on contested lease renewals to facilitate a £300m redevelopment of city centre.
- Representing Two Rivers Housing in a boundary dispute threatening a £2m development.
- Advised Clarion Housing Association on recovering the possession of severely hoarded property to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation despite an Equality Act Disability discrimination defence.
- Securing injunctive relief against multiple defendants to protect residents from anti-social behaviour.
- Advising Tendring District Council on a rent review dispute worth circa £250,000 per annum.
Emms Gilmore Liberson focuses on commercial property litigation, representing investors, property managers and occupiers in dilapidations claims, leasing matters, service charge disputes and sales of properties. Practice head Martyn Liberson handles a range of leasehold and freehold litigation, supported by director Paul Pinder who recently joined from Pinsent Masons LLP and specialises in mixed-use commercial/residential buildings.
Other key lawyers:
‘The broad commercial knowledge in this practice is a refreshing change. No problem is too small and they are willing to given an appraisal, which is most useful at an early stage of any legal problem, especially if you are instructing them on behalf of third parties as we often do. Overall, I would not instruct anyone else unless conflicted‘
‘Very good on dilapidations claims and bad debt recovery from tenants‘
‘I have known the principal partners in this firm for almost thirty years and have found them to be the most straightforward of professional lawyers‘
‘Martyn Liberson is highly experienced and has developed a successful specialist property litigation practice in Birmingham‘
‘Martyn Liberson has a thoroughly professional and at the same time commercial approach to dispute resolution‘
‘Director Anna Albini is a very diligent and hands on solicitor‘
Corinthian Trust Company Limited
Burlington Estates London Limited
Wing Wah Group
- Advising on a dispute between shareholders in holding company Wing Wah Group in relation to a large Chinese restaurant based in the centre of Birmingham.
- Acting for Telereal Trillium in a dispute concerning the sale of a £5m asset in Central London.
Higgs & Sons is regularly involved in both commercial and residential property disputes, ranging from property management claims relating to lease renewals, rent reviews and break notices, to development disputes such as restrictive covenants, as well as neighbour disputes. Paul Barker focuses on commercial property litigation, while Nyree Applegarth often acts on boundary disputes and trespass matters; both advise a mixture of investors, occupiers, developers and private individuals.
Led by senior associate Michelle Adams, the real estate litigation team at Squire Patton Boggs handles contentious matters relating to the management of portfolios for real estate investors and clients in the retail, logistics, charity and broadcasting sectors, including lease renewals, dilapidation claims, breach of lease covenants and recovery of unpaid rents. Other work includes advising tenants on break option disputes and developers on pre-development vacant possession strategies.
‘The team gives practical and pragmatic advice and always delivers to deadlines, even when urgent matters crop up. Friendly and approachable – they speak in simple language‘
‘Michelle Adams is a technical expert‘
Signet Group Limited
Cancer Research UK
The Royal British Legion
- Undertaking real estate litigation work in respect of the client’s extensive national retail property portfolio, including lease renewals, dilapidation claims and break clauses.
- Advising Cancer Research UK on contentious real estate matters relating to over 450 cancer research charity retail stores across England and Wales.
- Advising the Royal British Legion on contentious real estate matters relating to its portfolio, including break notices, breach of lease covenants, recovery of unpaid rents and possession claims.
- Acting for ITV in nuisance claims, dilapidations claims by landlords, disputes regarding the operation of break clauses, and advising on compliance with covenants.
With a regional client base comprising of private individuals, landlords and corporate occupiers, Beswicks Legal in Stoke on Trent handles commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, boundary and ownership disputes as well as nuisance and trespass claims. Karen Elder, who heads the commercial litigation practice, and Gareth Wilkinson are the key contacts on the practice. Long-serving partner Stephen Taylor left to join Aaron & Partners LLP in April 2018.
Other key lawyers:
Based in Wolverhampton, George Green LLP is regularly involved in disputes relating to landlord and tenant matters. Led by James Coles, the team assists corporate and industrial tenants with dilapidations claims and lease renewals, and acts for landlords on repossession, disrepair claims, debt collection and forfeiture applications.
Calthorpe Estates Limited
Eriks Industrial Services Ltd
Sims Group UK Ltd
Telent Technology Services Ltd
Thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) Ltd
Birmingham Properties Group
West Bromwich Building Society
- Advising Scrivens on a dilapidations dispute.
- Acting for Greggs in relation to the nationwide residential property portfolio, including repossession, disrepair claims and debt collection.
- Acting for landlord developer in respect of a forfeiture application against a tenant that committed numerous breaches of its retail lease.
- Representing owners of commercial properties and a commercial vehicle repair business in defence of a repossession claim by Lloyds Bank.
- Advising Calthorpe Estates on the recovery of a portfolio of arrears.
Lodders Solicitors LLP
Lodders Solicitors LLP stands out for its landlord and tenant expertise, while also advising farmers and landowners in dilapidations claims, vacant possession matters and boundary disputes, among others. Practice head Jane Senior has specific expertise in agricultural matters, while senior associate Victoria Khandker focuses on commercial landlord and tenant work.
Other key lawyers:
Spitfire Bespoke Properties LLP
The King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, Warwick
Craigard Property Trading Limited
I.M. Properties LLP
Bromsgrove-based MFG Solicitors LLP assists landlords with business tenancy issues and possession claims, and landowners with neighbour disputes concerning right of way, trespass and damages. In other work, the team led by Harjie Singh Bindra handles various property-related issues for executors of estates, as well as development disputes.
Harjie Singh Bindra
‘Competent and knowledgeable‘
‘MFG are prompt and professional in all aspects of work. Emails are answered quickly and I have never not got through by phone‘
‘They are always prepared to put in the hours to get things done on time. Service is friendly and communication is excellent‘
‘Our claim was carried out diligently and with due consideration to the extent and complexity of the situation‘
‘We have received exceptional service from both Harjie Singh Bindra and trainee solicitor Jessica Moore. They work very well as a team and have been helpful and informative throughout the process to date‘
‘Robert Pearce has spent time explaining my options and possible outcomes and consequences. I have been very pleased with his service‘
- Represented a defendant in High Court litigation relating to a redevelopment project being jeopardised by the claimant, who claimed he had various rights over part of the defendant’s land.
Principal associate Christopher Bartley leads the property litigation practice at Mills & Reeve LLP and has a strong track record in the education and healthcare sectors. Areas of expertise include landlord and tenant matters relating to contentious lease renewals for retailers and pension funds, maintenance of properties and dilapidations disputes, as well as breach of contract arising out of properties sales and ownership litigation.
‘Very good landlord and tenant experience, both residential and commercial. Good at dispute resolution. Robust and responsive‘
‘Christopher Bartley is clever, asks difficult questions and ensures that no stone is left unturned‘
‘Christopher Bartley has an in-depth knowledge of property litigation and his advice has been invaluable in respect of recent service charge disputes in particular‘
Countrywide Legal Indemnities Limited
Birmingham City University
Stratford-upon-Avon Town Trust
Iron Mountain UK
Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited
L Rowland & Company (Retail) Limited
University of Cambridge
At Sydney Mitchell LLP, associate Sundeep Bilkhu advises landlords and tenants on a range of commercial and residential property issues, such as neighbour disputes, adverse possession claims, dilapidations claims against, repair covenants, unlawful evictions and collections of rent arrears. Kamal Majevadia handles trespass claims and fraudulent transfers of property.
Kamal Majevadia; Sundeep Bilkhu
‘Sydney Mitchell has an efficient litigation practice. They are able to handle legally and factually complex matters‘
‘The firm gives clear direction for the client’s benefit‘
‘Associate Sundeep Bilkhu is always well prepared and thorough. He gives a full range of alternatives so the client can take appropriate action, explains legal terms to inform the client and gain understanding, and is able to hold strategic information until the appropriate time to gain maximum impact‘
- Representing a client in a dispute with his neighbour, who was granted planning permission to build a two-storey house in his garden, which will impact the client’s property.
- Advising a client on a land dispute relating to a claim for adverse possession of a parcel of land and a further application for first registration of certain unregistered land.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP recently bolstered its practice with the hire of new team head Michael Green from DWF, with David Marsden moving to Freeths LLP in November 2018. The team is instructed by a diverse client base of investors, corporate occupiers, developers and public sector bodies on a range of contentious work including landlord and tenant matters, neighbour disputes, development disputes such as rights of light issues, and professional negligence claims.
‘Michael Green is a careful litigator, whose style is to explore every available avenue, and to give realistic and considered advice to his clients. He is a property litigation solicitor who I have regularly recommended to others‘
West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund
Westminster City Council (Property Investment)
Kings College Hospital
Mainstay Residential Limited
Clarion Housing Group
West Midlands Housing Group
Four Oaks Estate Limited
KEW Phase 1 RTM Company Limited / KEW Phase 2 RTM Company Limited
- Brought in to advise on the King Edwards Wharf apartment, which suffered with water ingress problems and has been the subject of proceedings to determine questions of liability and recoverability.
- Acted for a client in connection with the latter stages of proceedings in relation to the purchase a residential investment property in Mortlake, West London.
- Advising Four Oaks Estate on issues concerning private roads, the ability to implement traffic management, and the recovery of service charge arrears.
- Representing Eclipse Property in its appeal against a notice served upon it by the Borough Council of Calderdale following a fire caused by unlawful trespassers.
Wright Hassall LLP
Wright Hassall LLP is recognised for its landlord and tenant work, including handling dilapidations claims, lease renewals and termination, rent reviews, recovery of rent, collection of service charge arrears and enforcement of covenants. 'Excellent litigator' Dawn Reynolds leads the team; rural disputes specialist Jon Clifford and residential property claims expert Mary Rouse are other noted members of the practice.
‘Knowledge, expertise and efficiency‘
‘The property litigation team has some impressive corporate clients, who trust the firm with their commercial landlord and tenant work. The property litigation team has an ability for nurturing talent. Professionally run and client-focused‘
‘Dawn Reynolds is an excellent litigator who provides incisive commercial advice on property matters. From IPs to farmers, developers to corporate landlords, she provides her clients with a first-rate service. As an instructing solicitor, Dawn provides clear, concise instructions. She cuts through complex legal issues to get to the nub of the case‘
Orbit Group Limited
Bromford Housing Group
Lucy Glyn Support Services Limited
Walterton & Elgin Community Homes Limited
Aragon Housing Association Limited
TUI Travel Plc
JCDecaux (UK) Limited
Orbit Group Limited
Keller Group Ltd
- Acted for a housing association landlord in defending a disrepair claim by a persistent complainant.
- Represented a Worcestershire farmer in a dispute with a purchaser arising after the sale of fields including restrictive covenants.
- Advising a local authority landlord whose tenant sought to expand his shooting enterprise on land he owned adjacent to the holding to a commercial shoot over part of the holding.
- Acting for a housing group that had been targeted by a law firm bringing numerous disrepair actions on behalf of tenants.
- Representing the tenants of Wellesbourne Airfield in a claim for new tenancies of land and buildings at the airfield, which was opposed by the landlord on the ground of demolition.