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A few snippets of cases of interest:

Healey v Fraine & Ors (2023) EWCA Civ 549

Confirmation by the Court of Appeal, if confirmation was needed, that one can’t be simultaneously in occupation as a licensee, and in adverse possession of the property under the Land Registration Act 2002 rules. A proposed amended defence and counterclaim which asserted both was indeed misconceived and self-contradictory and could not be allowed.

Knapp v Bristol City Council (2023) UKUT 118 (LC)

The first Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) decision on a banning order case. Naomi Knapp appealed a five year banning order made by the FTT. The appeal failed. As well as various arguments that FTT had put too much weight on the size of the fine for various offences levied by the Magistrates Court – on which the UT said this was properly something for the FTT to consider, but the FTT had not fettered itself – there was the ingenious (in the sense of wholly doomed) argument that being banned from ‘letting housing’ under section 14(1)(a) Housing and Planning Act 2016 only meant a ban from granting any new tenancy or licence, not continuing to be the landlord for existing tenancies. This got short shrift from the UT (though at greater length than misght be expected.)

Ludgate House Ltd v Ricketts (Valuation Officer) & Anor (RATING – HEREDITAMENT – office building occupied by ‘property guardians’ while awaiting redevelopment) (2023) UKUT 36 (LC)

Property guardians and the commercial rateable value of commercial buildings (partly) occupied by guardians. The long saga of Ludgate House reaches some sort of conclusion. Which is that occupation by guardians doesn’t, per se, take the whole building out of non-domestic rates, but if on the relevant valuation date, there are some guardians in the property, the factual position must be taken into account, so that the hypothetical commercial rent is that of a commercial tenant taking the property subject to the guardians’ factual occupation (and prospective further guardians, if contacted for), and with  the tenant having the same rights as the landlord to terminate the guardian contract. Thus, the cunning plan to take empty commercial buildings out of commercial rates failed, and with it it, that element of property guardian firms business pitches. However it failed in such a way as to leave a very complicated result for valuers. I am grateful not to be a valuer.



Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


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