Real Estate Disputes
Our real estate litigators advise owners, occupiers, property managers and secured lenders on robust strategies to protect and enforce their interests across the full range of asset classes including residential, retail, offices, industrial, hotels, restaurants and pubs.
Together with our transactional team we work hand in hand with our clients and their professional advisers to provide strategic support on acquisitions and on long-term portfolio and multi-tenanted asset managements including shopping centres, office and industrial developments, and residential estates.
We handle opposed and unopposed lease renewals, rent reviews, interim and terminal dilapidation claims, money claims, lease covenant enforcements and other contentious matters affecting property including restrictive covenants, boundary disputes, planning, statutory compensation and construction claims.
We act extensively on residential property matters for landlords, managing agents and leaseholders and advise regularly on lease extensions, collective enfranchisements, the right to manage, ground rent and service charge collection, major service charge consultations and recoveries, complex service charge disputes and forfeiture and possession claims.
Working alongside our Banking & Finance and Real Estate teams, we act for secured lenders, receivers and administrators on volume and bespoke enforcements, as well as ancillary recourse against guarantors and other third parties.
We bring a pragmatic and cost-effective approach to dispute resolution, helping our clients to achieve excellent outcomes through meticulous planning and effective conduct of their cases both through the courts and tribunals and using mediation and other ADR methods.
Representative Real Estate Dispute Work
Examples of our team’s real estate dispute experience include:
- Advised several secured lenders and receivers in more than 700 commercial/buy-to-let/residential investment portfolio enforcement cases.
- Advised clients in connection with numerous multi-million pound settlements and court damages awards obtained against negligent property valuers.
- Advised numerous clients on legal issues arising in connection with commercial rent reviews and appeals to the Commercial Court against arbitrators’ awards.
- Advised a landlord in a contested service charge dispute in the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) concerning service charges in excess of £1.4m.
- Advised a leaseholder on a successful claim under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 for freehold of a substantial house on the Grosvenor Estate with a value exceeding £20m where the sum agreed for the freehold was £1.7m.
- Advised for a group of leaseholders on a collective enfranchisement claim under the Leasehold Reform Act 1993 in respect of which the landlord’s challenge to the claim to acquire two adjoining blocks with a single notice was successfully resisted at three court hearings (the last to the Court of Appeal).
- Advised a freeholder in respect of an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to vary 365 residential leases.
- Advised both trustees and beneficiaries on numerous claims under Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA).
- Advised clients in connection with the defence of enforcement actions taken by Local Authorities for planning breaches.
- Advised a landlord in connection with the forfeiture of a commercial lease for breach of a non-alienation covenant, successfully resisting application for relief from forfeiture and securing the grant of a new lease at 4x the amount of original passing rent.
- Advised a tenant in obtaining relief from forfeiture of a restaurant premises following re-entry the landlord for non-payment of rent; successfully securing a licence to occupy pending the making of a Court order.
- Advised a mortgagee in obtaining an order for possession over a residential property in Knightsbridge to realise security in excess of £20m.
- Advised a landlord in successfully challenging the validity of a Section 26 Notice served under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 on behalf of a major UK clearing bank.
Jim McKeeverPartner Dispute Resolution
Jim joined Teacher Stern as a partner as part of the merger with Butcher Burns in May 2013, where he had been a partner since 2003.
He has over 15 years of experience advising on a wide range of property and Landlord and Tenant issues, acting for both landlords and tenants in this technical area of the law.
Jim has particular expertise in leasehold enfranchisement (purchase /sale of freeholds and extension of leases of flats and houses), having specialised in this field since qualification in 1992 and in particular since the significant expansion of leaseholders` rights in relation to flats introduced by the Leasehold Reform Act 1993. He acted for the successful leaseholders in the Court of Appeal in 41-60 Albert Palace Mansions (Freehold) Ltd v Craftrule Ltd , which gave tenants of adjoining blocks of flats greater flexibility and opportunities in collectively purchasing the freeholds of their blocks. He also acted for Boss Holdings Limited (Appellants) v Grosvenor West End Properties and others (Respondents)  in its successful appeal to the House of Lords concerning the definition of a house under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
Jim also has specialist knowledge of Housing and Rent Act legislation.
He is a member of the Property Litigation Association.
Partner, Teacher Stern
Partner, Butcher Burns