Property Litigation

Our Property Litigation Team is recognised for its strength and experience. Our solicitors play a crucial role in a substantial number of property and commercial transactions on stand-alone matters and in support of other departments. We advise on all aspects of property litigation and handle high value complex work, ranging from commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, service charge claims, property issues arising in redevelopment projects and on insolvency, to equitable proprietary remedies, including trusts of land and agricultural land disputes.


  • Contracts
  • Landlord and tenant issues
  • Leasehold enfranchisement
  • Options to break contracts
  • Dilapidations claims 
  • Party wall claims
  • Right of light 
  • Easement proceedings
  • Mortgage repossession and restructuring claims
  • Claims in insolvency
  • Property related negligence matters
  • Debt recovery work
  • Social Housing 

Relevant work

  • High Court Chancery proceedings in relation to land ownership claims concerning land and entitlements to income/expenditure.
  • Advised an energy client in regard to its right to remove the protesters from a drilling site and its ability to bring injunctive action for public and private nuisance. 
  • Advised in relation to negligent service received by our client's managing agents, and in particular with regard to recovery of service charges and management of premises.
  • Advised a client on the removal of 20 tenants from a potential development site in South London to obtain vacant possession in order to sell the site. 
  • Acting for a large corporate landlord client in relation to a contentious collective enfranchisement claim. 
  • Advising a Registered Provider client in relation to a leaseholder's challenge to service charges claimed following major works.
  • Successfully challenging a claim for service charges on behalf of a leaseholder where the landlord failed to comply with the statutory requirements.


Lease renewals - the importance of expert evidence

Although lease renewal proceedings are often issued at Court, the parties rarely end up at trial and instead the renewal lease is usually completed without the intervention of the Court.

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Vacant Possession - What does it mean?

In the context of a conditional break clause, the requirement to give vacant possession is, unfortunately for tenants, a common condition.

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Energy efficiency and the private rented sector

From the pomp and ceremony of world leaders signing treaties to the devastating images of residents forced out of their homes due to flooding, there is barely a week that goes by when climate change issues are not in the media.

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The Housing and Planning Bill - What does the future hold?

Those who work in the field of social housing are used to having their day to day working lives being altered by legislative changes that happen every few years. It keeps us on our toes.

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The rise of the 'armchair entrepreneur?' - Business Leases and Residential Tenancies

There are currently a reported 2.9 million home businesses in the UK which are making an increasingly important contribution to the economy. The Government has been keen to encourage the rise in the 'armchair entrepreneur' and so the continuing popularity of the home business shows no sign of abating.

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Adverse Possession

The rules relating to adverse possession changed on 13 October 2003 when the relevant provisions of the Land Registration Act 2002 ("LRA 2002") came into force.

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Insider Awards 2015

Ashfords has been shortlisted in the Insider Property Awards, South West 2015.

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Phillips v Francis: Back to the Future in relation to Service Charge Consultation

In a long-awaited judgement from the Court of Appeal, the 2012 decision of the Chancellor in Phillips & Goddard v Francis has been overturned.

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Court of Appeal looks beyond purely financial consideration in property dispute following relationship breakdown.

The recent Court of Appeal decision in Southwell v Blackburn [2014] is a warning to home owners that the Courts will look beyond mere purely financial considerations when addressing property disputes between cohabitees on a relationship breakdown.

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Section 21, Disrepair and the Deregulation Act: a shield for tenants?

On 16 March 2015, the final text of the Deregulation Bill was agreed. This Bill will shortly receive Royal Assent. Once in force, this Act will have a significant effect on the private rented sector. Sitting alongside provisions relating to tenancy deposits, it is a legislative change that could give private landlords a real headache.

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Are housing associations 'public bodies?' The debate continues…

Keen followers of social housing news will remember the memorable case of R (Weaver) V London and Quadrant Housing in 2009.

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Waiting for legal aid is not an excuse for missing time limits in judicial review cases

The Court of Appeal has recently given judgment in a case which all those involved in public sector litigation should be aware of.

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New code of practice for retirement housing in England

There are currently estimated to be over 500,000 leasehold retirement homes in England and Wales, making up over 75% of the retirement housing market. Since 2005, the management of these properties has been governed by The Code of Practice for Private Retirement Housing ("the Code").

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Intentionality in Homeless Applications and Income

The extent to which an individual's financial standing can impact upon whether a homeless applicant is "intentionally homeless" is an issue which often causes uncertainty. However, the Court of Appeal has recently given guidance which can offer help to those involved with homeless assessments.

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Case Update: Whether a tenant is entitled to a refund of rent if the break date falls between rent payment dates

The Supreme Court has this week confirmed that where a break date falls between rent payment dates and the rent is paid in advance the tenant is not entitled to a refund of rent relating to the period after the break date.

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Banksy - an item of disrepair?

Whilst no one knows the real identity of the artist known as Banksy, his artwork has recently been the subject of a High Court case which has provided some useful guidance relating to the interplay between repairing covenants and chattels of substantial value.

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Good Faith - Case Update

There is no widely accepted definition of good faith and instead its meaning and effect are likely to vary depending on the context in which the obligation applies.

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How to prevent and remove squatters

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs recently purchased the old Manchester Stock Exchange as they planned to redevelop it into a boutique hotel. Whilst waiting for the relevant permissions to come through and the works to start, squatters moved in.

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All Change for Part 36

The 78th update of the Civil Procedure Rules introduces a number of changes, most of which are due to enter into force on 6 April 2015. One significant change will be in relation to Part 36.

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Section 21, Disrepair and the Deregulation Act 2015: increasing the burden on local authorities

On 26 March 2015, the Deregulation Bill received Royal Assent, thereby becoming an Act of Parliament. This Act will have a significant effect on the rented sector. Sitting alongside provisions relating to tenancy deposits, it is a legislative change that is more than likely to increase the strain on the environmental health teams of local authorities.

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Ashfords Sian Gibbon

Property Litigation
+44 (0)1392 334101

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