Home » Services » Real Estate Litigation

Real Estate Litigation

PCB Litigation has been recognised by the Legal 500 for its expertise in real estate litigation.

A number of the cases have been ground-breaking, such as the first case in which a landlord obtained specific performance of a tenant’s repairing covenant and a victory in the House of Lords on the application of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1985.

Others have been substantial, including one of the longest landlord and tenant cases in history when we succeeded in establishing on behalf of a large group of tenants the right to purchase their landlord’s interest.

But not all cases are large and complex, and whatever the nature of your dispute, we aim to provide an efficient, cost-effective service to help you achieve your goals.

We have experience of assisting landlords, tenants and property owners and developers on a range of issues, including:

  • Boundary disputes

  • Dilapidations claims

  • Disputed easements

  • Enfranchisement disputes

  • Mortgage repossessions

  • Planning disputes

  • Rent arrears claims

  • Rent reviews

  • Service charge disputes

  • Squatter possession claims

Selected Case Summaries

PCB acted for the second defendant to a claim to enforce a charge granted over a house. The claim was defended on the basis that the charge amounted to a regulated mortgage contract which the claimant was not licensed to provide, that the charge was void under s284 of the Insolvency Act 1986 and that it had been procured by undue influence and that the house was in any event held on trust for the defendants’ daughter. The second defendant counterclaimed for a declaration that the charge was unenforceable, void or voidable and for it to be set aside. The claimant failed to file a defence to the counterclaim and judgment in default was granted, setting aside the charge and declaring it void. PCB successfully opposed an application to set aside the default judgment.

PCB acted for defendants to a claim brought by a company that owned a golf club in respect of the sale by one of PCB’s clients as mortgagee in possession of the land. It was alleged that the sale had taken place at an undervalue, it being claimed the land was worth nearly £20m more than the sale price. The claimant sought to amend to add claims in conspiracy. PCB successfully resisted the amendment on the grounds that it was too late as it would result in the adjournment of the trial.

PCB acted for a property company who rented commercial premises comprising a number of retail units at a rack rent. The company then granted sub-leases in respect of a number of the retail units for a peppercorn rent, with the sub-lessees each paying a large premium on the grant of their sub-lease. The company covenanted to each of the sub-lessees to pay the rent on the head lease for so long as it retained its interest in the property. The company then assigned the head lease to a third party, who then disappeared leaving the rent due under the head lease unpaid. The sub-lessees obtained relief from forfeiture but had to pay the rent due under the head lease and take new leases at a higher rent. They claimed damages against the company and won at first instance and in the Court of Appeal, it being held that the purported limit of liability of the company only to pay rent under the head lease until such time as it disposed of its interest was void pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1985. PCB persuaded the House of Lords that this raised issues of general public importance and subsequently succeeded on appeal, it being held that the Act did not prevent such a limitation of liability being agreed.

PCB acted for a landlord of a property that was in disrepair. It had until then been generally accepted that a landlord’s remedies for breach of the tenant’s repairing covenant were forfeiture and/or damages, not specific performance. However, PCB was able to persuade the court that in exceptional cases (and this was one such case) specific performance could be ordered of a tenant’s repairing covenant.

Key contacts