February 2013 Archive

Relaxation of permitted development rights: a bonus or not?

On 24 January 2013, the government announced plans to grant new permitted development rights - the aim being to make it simpler to bring land which has been developed, or buildings which have become redundant in their current form, back into use. It is hoped that these changes will encourage regeneration and promote development, in particular in town centres where the need is most apparent. However, opponents are fearful that the changes will result in unsightly and uncontrolled development.

Mental health and borrowers

Getting the balance right when identifying and dealing with customers who have mental capacity limitations is vital. This isn’t anything new and is already stipulated by our Regulators but recent media coverage indicates as an industry we still haven’t quite got it right. When looking at your own operation can you honestly say you fully demonstrate compliance and act in the spirit of how the regulations were written?

Valuers' margin of error and lenders’ contributory negligence

In valuer claims, what margin of error is allowed before a valuation is negligently wrong? Also, what type of lending practices do the courts consider negligent? The recent cases in this area, Webb Resolutions v E.Surv [2012] and Blemain Finance v E.Surv [2012], provide more guidance and affirm the position in the K/S Lincoln case on margins and GMAC v Countrywide on lender contributory negligence.

Ability for a landlord to recover insurance premiums

The case of Sadd v Brown highlights the need to ensure that a lease clearly and expressly states exactly what a landlord can recover as the courts will be reluctant to imply a term to cure what would otherwise be considered a defective lease. This case involves a challenge in the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. Here a tenant of a flat in a building challenged the reasonableness of the proportion of the insurance premium included in the service charge. The lease did not expressly oblige the tenant to reimburse the landlord for the insurance premium.

Variations to section 106 planning obligations

On 28 February 2013, amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Modification and Discharge of Planning Obligations) Regulations 1992 come into effect. Previously, section 106A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provided that planning obligations could not be varied or discharged until the expiry of five years from the date they were entered into. A formal application had to be made to the local planning authority in which the developer would have to show the obligation no longer served a ‘useful purpose’.

In what circumstances can a Sports Governing Body refuse to accept membership?

As a general rule National Governing Bodies (NGB) and other sport and recreation organisations have ‘open’ membership policies. In essence, anyone who wishes to participate in the given sport of the NGB and is willing to abide by the necessary rules and codes of conduct, is able to apply for membership – which, in most cases, is a fairly straightforward process. However, what happens if the NGB believes that accepting an application from a particular individual is neither in its or its members’ interests?

NGBs and Data Protection: do you comply?

As with any organisation that handles large amounts of personal data on individuals, National Governing Bodies (NGBs) must comply with the Data Protection Act. Failure to comply means that you run the risk of being fined anything up to £500,000 by the Information Commissioner Officer (ICO – the independent body set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information).

Financial Ombudsman case: Clark v Focus Asset Management

In an interesting development on the Andrews v SBJ Benefit Consultants Ltd (2010) case, in which Mr Andrews lost his right to sue for the full extent of his damages by accepting the Financial Ombudsman’s determination, a contradictory judgment has been made in a recent case. In Clark v Focus Asset Management & Tax Solutions Ltd, Mr and Mrs Clark won the right to sue their financial adviser for further damages, despite accepting the ‘final and binding’ determination of FOS to receive the maximum award.

Charitable Incorporated Organisations: implementation timetable announced

The long awaited legislation enabling charities to take advantage of limited liability by becoming Charitable Incorporated Organisations was finally laid before Parliament last October. This means that, since January 2013, the Charity Commission has been able to start accepting staggered applications for registration. The Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), a new legal structure under the Charities Act 2011, has been designed specifically for charities and will be registered and regulated by the Charity Commission alone.
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