Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Our dedicated Property Dispute Resolution team has specialist experience in dealing with a wide range of landlord and tenant disputes, whether in the County Court, the High Court, or before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

Types of dispute

Landlord and tenant disputes can take many different forms.  In commercial cases, the dispute often turns upon the contents of the lease, although there is still a large body of judge-made case law and certain key pieces of legislation which need to be taken into account.  In residential cases, there are many statutes and statutory instruments which can catch the unwary.  At Berry Smith, we will guide you through the maze and help you find the solution which is right for you.

Commercial disputes

We have a broad experience of acting for commercial both landlords and tenants, and our clients are drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors.  Whether we are acting for banks or charities, private companies or individuals, our focus is always centred upon the particular needs of our clients.

The types of landlord and tenant disputes cases we regularly encounter include: -

  • Rent and / or service charges
  • Tenant dilapidations and / or landlord’s works
  • Breach of quiet enjoyment / derogation from grant
  • Tenant breaches of covenant
  • Unlawful eviction

Residential disputes

At Berry Smith, our work is by no means limited to the commercial sector and we are regularly instructed by residential landlords, right to manage companies and tenants with long leases of residential properties.

We are routinely instructed by landlords seeking to re-possess properties let pursuant to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and we have never failed to secure vacant possession for our clients.  We explain the options open to our landlord clients at the outset of a case, we agree the most appropriate course of action in that particular case and we explain the likely timeframes and costs.

Where properties are subject to long leases (e.g. residential houses or apartments in a development), we act for landlords, leaseholders and right to manage companies.  We have a wide experience of dealing with service charge disputes, both in recovering service charges for our clients and resisting payment where our client is a leaseholder.

Our experience and notable cases

  • We acted for a private limited company (one of the UK’s largest private owners of serviced office accommodation) in a long-running dilapidations dispute with its local authority tenant.  The dispute was complex – it was listed for a week-long trial in the Chancery Division of the High Court and involved four expert witnesses.  The tenant settled a few weeks before trial and paid our client £0.5 million in damages together with costs.
  • We are currently acting for a group of 12 individuals who own long leases of apartments in a large block situated in the centre of Cwmbran.  The immediate landlord is a housing association that has undertaken substantial works to the building and is seeking to recover the cost from our clients.  Our clients’ case is that a substantial part of the works fall outside what they are obliged to contribute and the case is due to go before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal imminently.
  • We acted for a tenant of commercial premises in Cardiff who was unlawfully evicted by his landlord.  We succeeded in getting our client back into possession within a matter of days by obtaining an Interim Injunction Order.  That Order was later confirmed at trial, where the landlord was also ordered to pay our client damages and costs.
  • We acted for a long-leaseholder of an apartment in Cardiff who had been sued by his landlord (a well-known national landlord) for unpaid service charges.  The landlord is based in England and used English solicitors.  It was oblivious to the legal requirement (for properties situated in Wales) that service charge demands must be accompanied by a summary of the leaseholder’s rights and obligations in Welsh as well as English.  The landlord’s summaries were in English only.  The case concluded when the landlord withdrew its claim and paid our client’s costs.
  • We are currently acting on behalf of partnership that owns a significant portfolio of retail properties nationwide, including a property let to Poundstretcher which was destroyed in a fire.  The insurer has refused to pay out and we have issued proceedings in the High Court for damages and loss of ongoing rent.

Please contact us at propertydisputes@berrysmith.com or 029 2034 5511 for further details.

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