Informer: Real Estate Newsletter - Spring 2013 | Fieldfisher
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Informer: Real Estate Newsletter - Spring 2013


United Kingdom

Welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of Informer, which we hope you will find an interesting and informative read.

Welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of Informer, which we hope you will find an interesting and informative read. 

The tough economic climate is affecting both landlords and tenants.  In the past few months, we have seen a number of major high street names in trouble, such as HMV, Blockbuster, Comet and Jessops.  Other stores, such as Thorntons, are reducing their high street presence and getting rid of unprofitable stores.  Many shopping centres and retail parks now have gaping holes in them, with large units such as Comet and HMV standing vacant.  Landlords are often unable to relet the units in the current market. 

Please do contact one of our property insolvency specialists through John Nelmes if you would like any advice on any distressed property issues.

Tenants are seeking flexibility, trying to terminate onerous lease liabilities on sites that are no longer profitable or which are surplus to requirements.  Landlords, on the other hand, want to keep the tenant on the hook wherever possible.  The perennial 'cat and mouse' game between landlords and tenants continues.  One of our property litigation team, Lauren King, looks at the latest case in a long line of cases where a tenant's exercise of his break clause was held to be invalid.  In this case, the tenant had forgotten to pay the penalty that was due when the break was exercised.

It is not all plain sailing for landlords, either.  Lesley Webber considers a recent case where a landlord accepted a surrender of a lease from an insolvent tenant, but found that the tenant had been let off more liabilities than the landlord had expected.

Empty buildings are at risk of occupation by squatters.  Another member of our property litigation team, Hannah Watson, examines the effect which the recent 'criminalisation' of squatting in residential premises has had on commercial property.  One of our real estate investment specialists, Jayne Elkins, reviews a recent case where a superior landlord tried to frustrate his tenant's attempts to sublet a property. 

Other articles and features include:

Informer Bites

  • Rights of Light Consultation
    All change for the Rights for Light?
  • Squatters home in on commercial premises
    The criminalisation of squatting in residential premises hasn't been good news for everyone
  • The Green Investment Bank
    An update
  • The privileged profession
    Court considers whether to bestow 'privileged' status on other professions


  • Not in occupation, but clinging onto possession
    Recent case provides a reminder that property law sees occupation and possession as quite different things
  • Please release me
    Unforeseen consequences of accepting a tenant's surrender
  • Green light for fracking
    Fracking is in the headlines again, following the Government's decision to give it the green light in December 2012
  • Mines and Minerals update - are they yours?
    Where these claims succeed, landowners who thought they owned all of their land both above and below the surface may find that they do not.

  • 'Darling, I'm leaving, you'd best pack your bags'
    What is the position when only one of two tenants gives notice to the landlord quitting a periodic joint tenancy?
  • Break Options - yet another failed attempt
    The case of Canonical UK v TST Millbank LLC has added to the recent flurry of failed break clause cases
  • Town and Village Greens
    Which is the right right?

Please let me know if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this edition of Informer (alternatively contact the relevant author of the article or feature) or if we can assist with a commercial real estate deal or issue.  We would also very much like your feedback on the content of this issue. 

Please do get in touch.

Antony Phillips, Head of Real Estate Group at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP