Residential development

First legal challenge to CIL on basis of a development’s future viability

The Conservatives’ pre-election promise to abolish the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was quietly swept under the carpet by the Coalition government which has not only kept the levy but has continued to tweak it. We have now arrived at the point where approximately 25% of local authorities have either adopted a CIL charging schedule or are in the process of doing so. In the first case of its kind, a developer has challenged the basis on which Chorley Borough Council set its charging schedule by citing procedural inaccuracy and that the level of the charge would undermine the viability of the development in question. Although the challenge was unsuccessful, it does open the door for other developers to query both the way in which charging schedules are arrived at and the level at which they are set.

Shared equity and consumer credit legislation

There are a raft of shared equity schemes currently being offered by house builders but, in order to offer sales incentives, they must have a consumer credit licence. Under current consumer credit legislation any house builder offering “shared equity” sales incentives must have a consumer credit licence issued by the OFT. Builders should know their obligations and be aware of the consequences of non-compliance.

Protect against title defects using legal indemnity insurance

Title defects are not unusual and legal indemnity insurance (if available) can be a quick way of dealing with them. Increasingly, legal indemnity insurance is being offered by sellers and demanded by buyers in order to protect them from actual or perceived title defects. Legal indemnity insurance which was once generally used only as a last resort, is now increasingly viewed as a quick and low-cost way of dealing with a title defect so that the defect does not prejudice or delay a sale.

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